Fun Facts Friday: Jean de Brunhoff

December 9, 2016

Jean de Brunhoff (9 December, 1899 – 16 October, 1937) was an writer and illustrator from France. Mr. Brunhoff is famous for his 1931 creation of Babar.

  1. De Brunhoff’s father, Maurice, was a publisher.
  2. He served in the French army during World War I, but by the time he got to the front lines the war was almost over.
  3. Cécile Sabouraud, his wife, was known as an excellent pianist.
  4. The couple had two sons, Laurent and Mathieu. Mrs. De Brunhoff used to invent bedtime stories for them. The boys liked the story of the little elephant so much that they asked their father, by that time a professional painter, to illustrate him.
  5. De Brunhoff turned the illustration into a book which was published by Le Jardin des Modes, a small publishing house.
  6. Cécile de Brunhoff’s name was removed from the book, but she is still considered by many to be the creator of Babar.
  7. De Brunhoff saw the publication of six more Babar books before his untimely death from tuberculosis at the age of 37.
  8. His brother, Michel de Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue, oversaw the publication of the two other books.
  9. Hachette, a French publishing house, bought the rights to the series, and reprinted the first seven book selling millions.
  10. After World War II, Laurent de Brunhoff revived the Babar series, making sure to stay true to his father’s drawing style.
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