Reading: Babar and his Children (1938)

I should have titled this post, “Why this book would not be published today,” because that’s what I’m going to talk about. But I thought that title might be confusing to random searchers.

First, the blatant things:

Little Arthur is distracted by marching soldiers. Not only does a person not see random marching soldiers today (outside of a parade), but seeing soldiers isn’t a positive thing.

For some reason this is Elle’s favorite page and we always turn to it first, but there’s all kinds of wrong here. 1. giving the baby something that it can actually choke on 2. turning the baby upside down and shaking it to dislodge the rattle 3. reaching in to find the obstruction; modern advice is don’t go poking around because you might push the object farther in.

And this is the most obvious reason why this book wouldn’t be published today: Babar’s first way to stop the crocodile from eating his son is to wish he had a gun!
Luckily, the anchor did the trick, so all went well (except for the crocodile).

Other reasons I think this book wouldn’t be published without some major re-writes, but am not 100% sure:
1. When the babies are born, a cannon is shot (with blanks) to let the townspeople know the event has happened.
2. Young Arthur pushes his baby siblings in a pram, and let’s go of the pram so it rushes down a hill and one of the babies is tossed over a cliff. The baby lands in a tree, but it’s still a pretty unsafe situation.
3. One of the babies uses a hat as a boat, and floats away. I doubt publishers want to give kids the idea they can use random things as boats.
4. The same baby is washed out of the boat hat and almost drowns. Much too scary of an idea!

What a shame if these books had never been published.


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