Shipwrecked pachyderms find many pleasures and surprises on a tropical island.
Babar and Celeste and their family, along with their friend “the old lady,” board a boat in Celesteville “for a day on the water.” A storm at sea changes everything; the ship hits a reef and capsizes. The party is able to walk to shore, an island with vines and bushes and palm trees. Babar comes face to face with a creature that looks like a dragon, but when it opens its mouth, not fire but welcoming words come out. The preternaturally helpful creature helps them find coconuts to eat, shows them how to build a hut, and takes them to a waterfall where they can shower and swim. Some of them even get to ride on the dragon’s back. Days pass, and many other animal residents of the island come forward to introduce themselves. At night, everybody sits around the fire, singing songs and telling stories. The old lady even manages to make a delicious key lime pie for all to share. Rescue is inevitable, though Babar has mixed emotions. Could their new friend go with them? Even into its umpteenth volume, the hallmarks of the series stand out: simple, declarative sentences, ever-so-mild threat level, blocky, clothed elephants—de Brunhoff’s too smart to mess with a successful formula.
Familiarity here breeds contentment. (Picture book. 3-6)