July 10, 2006

DT Bizarre Book Contest: Barbapapa's Ark

barbaark2.gifTitle: Barbapapa's Ark
Author/Illustrator: Annette Tison and Talus Taylor
Reviewed by: Tanya

Barbapapa and Barbamama are 2 blobs that hatched out of the earth and they have 7 blobby kids. They can all morph into different shapes (animate and inanimate). I think that they are French characters from the 70's and not sure if they were popular in the US (my hubby, who grew up in Michigan, had never heard for them and thought the whole concept was weird until I dug out my dog-eared copy).

Way before Al Gore came onto the scene, the Barbapapas were already trying to warn us about saving the planet. This particular book recounts the story of how careless humans are polluting and destroying natural resources. The Barbapapa family comes to the rescue and herds up plants and animals and a couple of kids and blast off into space. Humans see the error of their ways, fix up the planet and the Barbapapas bring everyone back.

I like that the book has a "kid friendly" message that isn't preachy like a lot of books/movies out there. This book's drawings used to entertain me for hours and I'm hoping that it'll be able to keep our little one busy too! I think the books are still out of print but I recently was able to buy this one for our daughter on ebay.

[ed note: someone mentioned these blobs before, but I can't find the post. They are French, though.]

3 Comments

The Barbapapa books aren't weird, they're wonderful. I think you need to check your line. Kids books have to be a little "weird" to be interesting. It's funny you posted these. I was at my parent's house this weekend and my parents have all our old books out (because I have a hoard of nieces and nephews in addition to my own son).

Anyway, I found three of the Barbapapa books and immediately sat my husband down (after putting my 1 year old to bed) to read him these books. They were my favorites as a child. I thought about your "weird book" contest - and thought no way that these should qualify. Didn't realize you can't get them anymore... will have to convince my mom to let me take them as she has them all. I loved these as a child.

(By the way - they are incredibly preachy - albeit subtley so. With books like this, the Womp World (which if you don't know - i can't help with since i can't find any reference to it on the internet), and the Lorax - how could I come out as anything other than an environmentalist? My mom's early plotting...)

If you want other wonderful books - aside from the aforementioned Womp World - do you know about the Marvelous Mud Washing Machine?

Rachel

I totally had this book and had completely forgotten about it. I remember loving the odd illustrations.

Barbapapa's Ark was enormously influential on my daughter, and the message did get through, even at four ('tell her not to use blue toilet paper. The fish will get sick!), becoming vegetarian at fifteen, and going to prison for obstructing loggers at ninteen. She's now working on savign the world through teaching sustainable farming.

My book records both children's encounters with books from birth to eight. There is a long section on Barbapapa's Ark. The book is Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell (Routledge 2007)

You might request it at your library, or buy it from Amazon, or from me.

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