Babar the elephant is the king of Celesteville, and this year his country is hosting the Worldwide Games. Athletes come from all over the world to compete. There is a fairytale romance for one of Babar's children, now grown up, too.
The Babar the Elephant series is 80 years old. It started as a bedtime story told to Laurent de Brunhoff as a child by his mother, and his father Jean illustrated 7 books about Babar and his family. I don't remember the stories that were read to me as a child clearly, but Babar's name and the pictures make me feel very nostalgic.
As we look forward to next year's Olympics, this book has a certain topicality. The pictures are great fun, showing elephants, lions, tigers, crocodiles and others performing amazing physical feats. The story has lots of positive messages about internationalism and love being more important than racial differences as Babar's daughter Flora falls in love with an elephant from another country.
My reservation about this book, though, is that I am unsure who it is aimed at. Young children might enjoy some of the pictures but I don't think the story is really written for them. The writing is a bit clunky and awkward and I can't see this being a bedtime favourite for my two boys.
The paperback RRP is £5.99, with Amazon currently offering it for £5.39.
This review first appeared at www.thebookbag.co.uk