Sound the Trumpets: Babar is Turning 80!

It’s a birthday party fit for a king…King Babar! The star of the classic children’s brand is turning 80.

Throughout November, Saks Fifth Avenue Toy Boutique featuring Babar will take center-stage within the children’s department in the flagship New York City location and 21 other Saks locations nationwide. The boutiques will feature a range of exclusive new high-end products that bring the charm of the original Babar books to life.

New York’s largest independent children’s bookstore, Books of Wonder, will be transformed into “Babar Central” this holiday season to celebrate Babar’s birthday in a variety of ways. Some of the planned festivities include special store windows dedicated to Babar and his birthday, a Babar book signing by author and illustrator Laurent de Brunhoff, Babar story times throughout the month, and an auction of rare Babar silkscreened prints with proceeds to benefit Reading Is Fundamental.

As part of all the birthday activity, the look and feel of the vintage Babar brand will be showcased in a range of new products set to launch at specialty toy and book stores nationwide this holiday season. From board books and games to puzzles, plush, and pajamas, the upscale collection of Babar products will mark the brand’s widespread reemergence at retail after more than ten years, paving the way for a whole new generation of fans and allowing those who grew up with Babar to share the magic of the regal yet relatable character and his imaginative adventures with their own young charges.

Babar Original Animated Series DVD Now Available

This June, Entertainment One invites families to discover the magical world of Jean de Brunhoff’s elephant king with the debut DVD release of Babar: The Classic Series: The Complete First Season. Originally seen on HBO, these 13 animated stories—never before available together as a complete season—follow Babar, his family, and friends as they encounter many challenges and adventures, all while teaching the most valuable lesson of all: despite life’s challenges, great things are possible if one never gets discouraged. As Babar says, “Long live happiness!”

First appearing in Histoire de Babar, Brunhoff’s 1931 storybook classic, Babar the Elephant, tells the story of the little elephant who leaves the jungle, visits a big city, and returns to share the benefits of civilization with his fellow elephants. Babar’s stories have been captured in best-selling books, motion pictures, and animated series.

Babar: The Classic Series: The Complete First Season will be released June 5 in a two-disc set for $19.98. For more information and news, follow Babar on Facebook.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

KI.KA Secures Broadcasting Deal for New Babar Series

German broadcaster KI.KA has purchased the first 26 episodes of Nelvana Enterprises‘ new animated series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou. The series will launch on the channel in spring 2011. Babar and the Adventures of Badou is an updated version of the classic Babar series and introduces King Babar’s 8-year-old grandson, Badou. In the CGI series, Badou and his friends Chiku the monkey, Zawadi the zebra, and others explore the exotic world of Celestville. The show, for kids ages 4 to 7, is a co-production by Nelvana Studio and TeamTO, in association with The Clifford Ross Company.

The series will premiere on YTV in Canada this November and is set to air on TFI in France, Playhouse Disney Japan, Disney Channel in Italy and Spain, ABC TV in Australia, TV2 in Norway, YLE 2 in Finland, DR TV in Denmark, Thai PBS, SRC for French Canada, and M-Net in South Africa, among others.

Image Credit: ToonBarn.com