My seven-year-old son loves the Babar books by Laurent de Brunhoff.
Every time we go to the library, he asks to check out another Babar
storybook. I was looking forward to sharing this Babar and Father
Christmas DVD with him. I hoped that the movie would be as interesting
to him as the books are.
When the DVD arrived, we realized that it actually had three animated
Babar stories on it, though only the Father Christmas story is
based on a Laurent de Brunhoff book. The other two stories, "A
Child In The Snow" and "The Gift" are written by other people,
with only the characters being borrowed from the original Babar
books. Some of my children felt that Brunhoff's 'Babar and Father
Christmas' story was the best one on the DVD, but my seven-year-old
son actually preferred the second story, "A Child In The Snow".
In "Babar and Father Christmas', Babar's children learn about
Father Christmas, who brings gifts to human children at Christmas.
They write to him, asking that he also visit Celesteville. When
Babar's evil rhinoceros enemy steals the letter, Babar himself
sets out on a journey to find Father Christmas. Rataxes the Rhinoceros
follows him, intent on stopping him from bringing Father Christmas
to Celesteville. Of course, Babar succeeds, and Rataxes fails.
The second story, "A Child In The Snow" finds Babar taking his
children back to one of his favorite childhood places, a cabin
in the mountains. Babar discovers that some things have changed
at the cabin, but his favorite mountain features have not. While
there, he finds himself looking for the mythical Great White Mammoth,
who had once saved him in a snow storm. Babar refuses to believe
it is a mythical creature, and sets out on a journey to find the
The story of "The Gift" finds Babar's children searching for the
perfect gift for their mother's birthday, which prompts Babar to
tell them of the time he had to find the perfect gift for Madame,
and the lessons he learned in the process. I'm not sure if my children
just like this story the least, or if it's because it's at the
end of two other stories, but it doesn't hold their attention as
well as the first two stories.
The DVD is 70 minutes long, and the stories can be selected individually,
or played back-to-back. The DVD seems to be recorded well, the
sound is clear, and we've had no difficulties with it at all. The
animation is the simple style often used to bring picture books
to life. However, it is actually animated, as opposed to just displaying
drawings as the story is narrated. There are no special features
on the DVD, though a small Babar coloring book is included in the
The Babar and Father Christmas DVD is a calm movie, perfect for
entertaining children with a classic story-telling style. It isn't
full of wild animation and action that will wind children up. The
stories hold the interest of children ages 3-8 quite well. I like
its calm nature, and that I can use it to help settle my children
down when they are wound up.
Some families may not care for the focus on Father Christmas/Santa in the first
story, or for the abominable-snowman style storyline of the second movie.
However, if those aren't issues in your home, this DVD is a great addition
to your holiday/winter movie collection for the preschool/early elementary
age children in your home.