This book was originally published in 1940 and the end notes tell us that it was the last one written by Jean de Brunhoff before his untimely death at age 37. The story and line drawings were finished but the illustrations still needed to be colored. Jean's brother took care of that with the help of Jean's son who was only 12 years old when his father died. I like the fact that Jean's son had a hand in the coloring of this wonderful story of a father's love and special efforts on behalf of his children at Christmastime.
This book has all the lively and humorous characteristics of the other Babar the Elephant stories, the brightly colored, warm and friendly drawings of our beloved elephant royalty, the antics and adventures of the elephants themselves and of course, our hero, King Babar once again, saving the day, in this book, a most important day, Christmas!
Arthur, Pom, Flora and Alexander, the royal elephant children , together with their monkey pal, Zephir, write Father Christmas a wish list letter and are disappointed when they don't get a reply. This ultimately leads to Babar's realization that the Elephants' Country needs to be included in Santa's regular route, so he goes to heroic lengths to make his childrens' wishes come true. Babar and Father Christmas become fast friends and Father Christmas even gets to take a much needed rest in the tropical climate of Babar's country. The way de Brunhoff has drawn Father Christmas is quirky and jolly and rather different from the image we have of him today but entirely captures the essence of this wonderful holiday icon. If you have loved other Babar stories or if this is your first, you are sure to love it and make it a part of your Christmas tradition.