Press Release: The Story of Babar

The Story of Babar
Jean de Brunhoff

With archive material from Faïza Guène, Adam Gopnik and Christine Nelson

‘If you love elephants, you will love Babar… and if you have never loved elephants, you will love them now’
a.a. milne

The Story of Babar follows the incredible journey of le petit éléphant from bedtime tale to one of the most memorable and loved children’s stories of all time.

Jean de Brunhoff ’s original artwork for Histoire de Babar is held in the archives of The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, but is too fragile for permanent public display. Working closely with Christine Nelson, Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts at The Morgan, we have faithfully reproduced the first sketches of Babar, de Brunhoff’s original handmade mock-up book (maquette) and a facsimile of the French first-edition of the published book.

The Story of Babar also includes a fascinating commentary volume, bringing together a selection of writing on both Babar and de Brunhoff as well as a detailed annotation of each of the sketches and the maquette alongside thumbnail reproductions of every page. The commentary opens with Faïza Guène’s newly commissioned essay ‘The Go-Between’, and includes New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik’s essay ‘Freeing the Elephants’ and Christine Nelson’s essay ‘Babar Begins’. The first edition is newly translated into English, from the original French, by Christine Nelson and Sophie Lewis.


Product information

Limited to 750 copies numbered by hand Exclusively available from The Folio Society

UK £345.00 US$495.00 Can $665.00 Aus $760.00


Production Details

  • Limited to 750 copies hand-numbered on a certificate printed on Marcate Nettuno paper
  • High quality reproductions of a first edition of Histoire de Babar, 61 sketches and de Brunhoff ’s original maquette
  • Histoire de Babar 56 pages and Commentary 120 pages printed on Abbey Pure Paper
  • Sketches and maquette printed on Abbey Lynx Paper
  • Facsimile volume quarter-bound in cloth with paper sides
  • Sketches, maquette and limitation certificate presented in a portfolio quarter-bound in cloth with printed paper sides
  • Commentary volume quarter-bound in cloth with Plike paper sides
  • Essays by Faïza Guène, Adam Gopnik and Christine Nelson
  • Translation of Histoire de Babar by Christine Nelson and Sophie Lewis
  • Facsimile, commentary and portfolio housed together in a presentation box quarter-bound in cloth with printed Marcate Nettuno paper sides and secured with green grosgrain ribbon
  • Presentation box 14½˝ x 10½˝ x 2¼˝

about histoire de babar
One of the most beloved children’s books, Histoire de Babar started off as a story Cécile de Brunhoff told her young sons at bedtime. They were so captivated that they asked their artist father Jean de Brunhoff to illustrate the tale, and so began the story that led to worldwide acclaim.

Histoire de Babar follows a young orphaned elephant, who seeks refuge in a city after a hunter kills his mother. He meets the benevolent Old Lady and is introduced to the magical world of tailored suits, fine dining and pampered living. This endearing narrative, paired with Brunhoff ’s exquisite illustrations, has ensured Babar’s universal and enduring appeal.

jean de brunhoff

The son of a publisher, de Brunhoff was born into a world of books, but before following in his father’s footsteps he briefly fought at the end of World War One. He went on to study painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and embarked on a career as a professional artist and illustrator. Six more books followed the worldwide acclaim of Histoire de Babar before de Brunhoff ’s death at the age of just 37. After a six-year break, his son Laurent adopted the amiable elephant and continued his adventures, closely following de Brunhoff ’s celebrated illustrative style. The multi-million best-selling series eventually ran to 45 books and Babar remains one of the best-loved children’s characters in the world.










For media enquiries please contact

UK & ROW Ken Hooper, Cherish PRw
020 3626 0282,

US & Canada Cathleen P. Williamson
(617) 435-5505,