Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Barbapapa's Ark

Barbapapa's Ark
Annette Tison & Talus Taylor
Xerox, 1974


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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12 comments:

SMW said...

oh we love the BPs
I have the set on a rare British imprint - Warne Horseshoe. I found by looking for more on ebay that Barbapapa's Trunk is worth over $200. Gulp. I no longer leave them lying around the kids' bedroom amongst the Bionicles but we still read them. The one where they turn themselvs in to bottles for fruit juice is my favourite,

Nicola said...

I loved the Barbapapas! The cartoon and the books. Thanks for the memory.

AlliHoper said...

OMGsh...I used to LOVE Barbapapa!! Such memories...

Christine said...

Loved this when I was little! I'd love to see it again... wonder if the library has it?

I seem to remember a wonderful cut-away illustration of the ark, with each animal and character getting their own perfect little nook on the ship.

Scribbler said...

It totally has an awesome cutaway, my scanner isn't long enough though.

Katie said...

Snap! I just won a copy of Barbapapa's Ark on eBay a couple of weeks ago!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this blog and images! I have been searching for this book for a long time, but I could not remember the name of it or even the characters. I remembered the illustrations vividly (especially the two scenes with the hunters and gas masks), and so I was delighted to see them again. This book left a big imprint on my heart as a child. Cheers!

B. Streetman said...

my favorite kind of connection!

Reneesance said...

Oh I LOVED this book as a child although I didn't realize it was part of an ongoing series. Now I want to go dig in my mother's attic to see if she still has our copy which was definitely well loved.

jengod said...

I yearn for these to come back into print in English! We had a copy of Barbapapa's New House and I read it to pieces.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

"I yearn for these to come back into print in English!"

You would think someone in the US would already have done so. I think it's a shame the series on it's own is not well-known over here as it is in Europe (and Japan). Just seems kinda wrong to be left in the dark about it.

Erin said...

My 3yo son is also obsessed with this book, which is a hand-me-down from my own childhood. I never had any of the others, but I guess I'll hunt for them on eBay.

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