Annette Tison & Talus Taylor
I have vague memories of Barabapapa and his kin from growing up in the 70s, but for some (totally unknown) reason I was reluctant to push them on the boy. Maybe they cause too many Shmoo flashbacks, who knows... Anyways, the books have been sifting around, never quite making it to the top of the heap until recently, when my son discovered and became obsessed with this one, the fourth (?) in the series.
For those unfamiliar, the Barbapapa books were originally born in France but went on to international fame via a cartoon incarnation. Here, my son's attracted to the uplifting environmental message and animal fun, and he's currently been bringing it up in reference to the oil spill in the Gulf. So the story begins...
Barbapapa and his family were having a picnic. As you know, Barbapapas can change their shape...
(Barbalala then shifts into a bird and Barbazoo morphs into a frog. Crazy.)
...It was pleasant on the river--until they saw the unhappy animals. Why were so many of them sick?
Yeah, it might have something to do with the nasty stuff leaking into the water. The Barbapapa gang (don't forget their human friends, Frank and Cindy!) come to the rescue, rehabilitating the animals and building a refuge. When the big, old filthy world threatens to engulf their sanctuary, they build a rocket ship ark (almost exactly like in Professor Noah's Ark) and blast off.
A sad story when you think that it's all too steeped in reality... only when the humans mend their polluting ways do the Barbapapas and their animal friends return to Earth. I only hope we have such a neat and tidy happy ending.
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