About 55 years ago, my Uncle Bill noticed a little 4, almost 5 year old, girl who knew how to read and loved books. He had a friend who owned a bookstore and so for each birthday of the little girl’s childhood, Uncle Bill had his friend send a book to the little girl. One of the early books sent was The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.
Jump ahead 25 years and the little girl now has 3 children. When the youngest was born, he was given an elephant that became his best friend for many years (yes, even at age 28, the elephant is part of his family).
Now, go about 30 more years. That once little girl now has 4 grandchildren (yes, I am the little girl, now age 59). The youngest of the grandchildren is Lucy, who at age 4 ½, discovered The Story of Babar in Grandma’s bookshelf about a month ago. The book is inscribed “To Alex, our favorite little boy. Merry Christmas 1985.” Lucy has had Grandma read and reread the book to her. I now have it wrapped up under the tree to give to Alex this year again, so he will have it for his own children when they begin to arrive!
Here’s a sad thing, well, actually a couple of sad things. A few weeks ago I was shopping with my 2 daughters and my daughter-in-law and I mentioned that I wanted to get a copy of The Story of Babar for Lucy for Christmas. My daughter-in-law (who I might as well call my daughter she is such a wonderful addition to our family) had never heard of Babar until Alex had told her about him! I couldn’t even imagine that! Then when I went to Barnes and Noble to choose a Babar book, the only one that they had was The Story of Babar. They don’t carry any of the other books, because there is no interest in them. I was so sad! No interest in them??? Ask Lucy about that!
Last night, Lucy was at Grandma’s house, which is all decorated for Christmas now, and she discovered Babar and Father Christmas laying under the tree with the other children Christmas books. You cannot hardly imagine the feeling of that little girl calling Grandma in to read it to her in bed before going to sleep. She laid her head on my shoulder and knew all the names of the characters. It was heaven! A third, generation of Babar lovers!
By the way, if there happen to be any of you out there who don’t know about Babar, or would like to read about the history of Babar, check this out: