TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Jean de Brunhoff

Jean  de Brunhoff

Jean de Brunhoff was born in 1899 in France. He was an accomplished painter when he was inspired by a story about an elephant that he heard his wife tell their two young sons, Laurent and Mathieu. He turned the simple story into the big illustrated storybook we all know and love-The Story of Babar. Published in 1931, The Story of Babar heralded the birth of a character who has become a familiar friend for generations of children around the world.

Jean de Brunhoff wrote and illustrated a total of six storybooks about Babar, the King of the elephants, as well as The ABCs qf Babar, before he died of tuberculosis at the age of 37. After World War II, his older son, Laurent, began writing and illustrating new Babar stories.

With his deft combination of graphic art and storytelling, jean de Brunhoff is often referred to as the father of the conternporary picture book.