25 Days – Book 20: Babar’s Christmas Tree

Day 20 brings an old, tiny book from the Babar series. I really love tiny books. While I appreciate picture books in all their forms, I really think there is something special about tiny books. They match their audience perfectly – little hands, little books. I think Beatrix Potter really knew what she was doing with her classic, small books. I have a slowly building collection of tiny books, and while I would love to keep them pristine and precious; I really love to share them with my girls. They adore them. They carry them around, read them to their stuffed toys and dolls, collect them in bags… tiny books are so delightful.

I recently discovered a set of small Babar books. I have a love/hate relationship with Babar. I remember my first Babar book being a little paperback I earned from the reading program at my library. I loved that book, mostly because I earned it. And the anthropomorphized elephants were so fascinating. Babar stories tend to be very odd and have a questionable colonialism tone that has caused controversy over the years. This one ranks in the odd but cute and my three year old loves its simplicity. Take a (tiny) peek at Babar’s Christmas Tree by Laurent de Brunhoff, 1974.

The story opens with Babar and Zephir the monkey searching for a Christmas tree. They find the tallest one the tree farm has. It is so long, they can hardly fit it into the bus and they have to push it through the living room window to get it into the house. Babar even has to saw off a piece of the trunk to make it fit.

But the best part is that they don’t have enough ornaments to fill it. They all join in to cut shapes out of paper and color them. It is the most beautiful tree they’ve had! They all gather round to admire it, but cannot find Zephir the monkey. And my three year old’s favorite part is that he is in the tree!

This book is almost so simple to be boring. But there is still a charm about it. Perhaps it is because it is a family that you can get to know through other books and this is just a peek into a tiny party of their holiday celebrations. Perhaps it is the abnormally large tree, the comical feats of getting it home, the darling homemade decorations, or maybe it is just the monkey in the tree. Whatever it is, this book is cute, humorous, and a fun addition to the full season of Advent.

Only five more books to go!

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