It’s a birthday party fit for a king…King Babar! The star of the classic children’s brand that has won over generations of children and families worldwide is turning 80! On the “tail” of his birthday fete in France and as a kick off to his 80th anniversary celebration in the U.S. in the new year, the iconic elephant character with the instantly recognizable signature green suit and gold crown is packing his trunk for America – and, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Books of Wonder and beyond, the U.S. is rolling out the green carpet for Babar’s arrival.
“What began as a family bedtime story nearly a century ago has grown into one of the most successful and well-loved children’s book series and brands of all time,” said Andrew Kerr, Head of Consumer Products, The Americas and Australasia, for Nelvana Enterprises, who manage the Babar brand in collaboration with The Clifford Ross Company. “With a standout presence at Saks Fifth Avenue and Books of Wonder, coupled with the launch of an exciting new product range marking the brand’s stateside reintroduction after more than a decade, we are thrilled to kickoff Babar’s 80th celebration – and to invite fans of all ages to take part in the fun.”
Babar at Saks Fifth Avenue
Throughout November, Saks Fifth Avenue Toy Boutique featuring Babar will take center-stage within the children’s department in the flagship New York City location and 21 other Saks locations nationwide. The boutiques will feature a range of exclusive new high-end products that bring the charm of the original Babar books to life. In addition, Babar will be featured in the retailer’s famous New York City holiday windows – to include a life-size Babar plush exclusively available at Saks – and a full-page presence in the annual Christmas catalog.
Babar at Books of Wonder®
New York’s largest independent children’s bookstore will be transformed into “Babar Central” this holiday season to celebrate Babar’s birthday in a variety of ways. Just some of the planned festivities include special store windows dedicated to Babar and his 80th birthday; a Babar book signing by author and illustrator Laurent de Brunhoff; Babar story times throughout the month and an auction of rare Babar silkscreened prints with proceeds to benefit Reading Is Fundamental.
Babar (is Back!) at Retail
As part of all the 80th birthday activity, the look and feel of the vintage Babar brand will be showcased in a range of new products set to launch at specialty toy and book stores nationwide this holiday season. From top-quality board books and games to beautifully-designed puzzles, plush and pajamas, the upscale collection of Babar products will mark the beloved brand’s widespread reemergence at retail after more than ten years, paving the way for a whole new generation of fans and allowing those who grew up with Babar to share the magic of the regal yet relatable character and his imaginative adventures with their own young charges.
Babar originated in the 1930s as a bedtime story told to Laurent and his brother by their mother, Cecile, and first came to life through the art of Laurent’s father, Jean de Brunhoff, a painter, who produced seven books about the character. When Jean passed away at the young age of 37, Laurent, who studied at the same art academy, built on his father’s work, creating many bestselling adventures for the elephant family. Babar tells the charming tale of a little elephant playing in the jungle who ventures into town after his mother is shot by a hunter and then returns to the jungle, where he becomes the King of the elephants.
A remarkable success story with humble beginnings, today Babar continues to reign as the King of children’s literature. The lovable elephant has appeared in more than 100 books in 17 languages as well as multiple TV series and specials and even a feature-length film. Over 42 Babar titles have been published to date with more than 10.1 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.