Jean de Brunhoff Facts

Jean de Brunhoff Facts
Jean de Brunhoff was a French writer best known for having created Babar, one of the 20th century's most famous children's characters. He was born on December 9th, 1899 in Paris, France to Maurice de Brunhoff, a publisher, and Marguerite Brunhoff. As a child he attended Protestant schools, and as a teenager joined the front lines during World War I. He later studied painting at Paris' Academie de la Grande Chaumiere to become a professional artist. Babar's character was born when Jean's wife Cecile told bedtime stories to his sons Mathieu and Laurent. The boys asked their father Jean to paint Babar and he turned it into a picture book. It was published in 1931 as le petit elephant and then in 1933 as The Story of Babar.
Interesting Jean de Brunhoff Facts:
The story of Babar began when Jean's wife told their sons a story about a little elephant. Their son Mathieu was sick and she was trying to amuse him.
Mathieu and Laurent loved the story they asked their father to draw the elephant. Jean drew it, named it Babar, and included the story. It became the first Babar book.
Jean de Brunhoff expanded the Babar story into several more books including The Travel of Babar (1934), Babar the King (1935), ABC of Babar (1936), Zephir's Holidays (1937), Babar and His Family (1938), and Babar and Father Christmas (1940).
The ocean liner Normandie had a children's dining room with Babar paintings on the wall, because Babar had become so popular at the time.
Jean de Brunhoff was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the early 1930s and was forced to spend a great deal of time in a sanatorium in Switzerland.
While at the sanatorium Jean de Brunhoff kept busy writing his Babar books. It is believed that many of the stories were inspired by Jean's own life, and the stories were a way that he could share himself with his family while he was away.
Jean de Burnhoff died when he was only 37 years old, on October 16th, 1937, due to his illness.
Jean de Brunhoff's oldest son Laurent revived the Babar series 10 years after his father's death. Since then he has continued the series with more than 50 new Babar titles.
Jean de Brunhoff is often credited with inventing the picture book.
The last two Babar books written and illustrated by Jean de Brunhoff were published after Jean's death, thanks to his brother Michel de Brunhoff who was also the editor of French Vogue. Michel had Laurent, only 10 at the time, to do some of the colorization of the black and white manuscripts.
The Babar stories written by Jean de Brunhoff featured important events in the elephant's world, including Babar's birth, his mother's death, moving to the city, school, moving home, marriage, children, and his kingdom's development.
Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff's Babar stories have been adapted to television and film.
The original Babar books and those written and illustrated by Jean's son Laurent have sold millions of copies all over the world.


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