BABAR'S MYSTERY by Laurent de Brunhoff


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There's no guessing what's afoot as first Babar's piano disappears, then his car, then the gold statue he's scheduled to unveil (helas! a crude dummy). The one clue, a glove Flora finds on the sidewalk, takes the family on a day's outing to a glove-seller's at Mont Saint Georges (better known as Mont Saint Michel) but otherwise leads nowhere: the lion wearing its double turns out to have a complete pair. So the reader must patiently wait until Arthur spots the stolen car, suspiciously loaded, heading for the shore--where four (piano-coveting) crocs and a Godfatherly rhino are about to cast off with the statue. However--and this is the book's one bright invention--the Old Lady is holed up writing her memoirs in an overlooking lighthouse, and there the thieves are trapped. . . while the Old Lady makes her escape in a suspended basket used before to send up her lunch. The pity is that de Brunhoff--who earlier has Celeste chastised for suspecting the cigar-smoking rhino "just because of the way" he looks--didn't plant a trail of clues in his typical crowd scenes, thus permitting youngsters to out-sleuth Babar & Co. Or, for those who retrace their steps, didn't offer more than a premonitory glimpse of a departing piano. It's all too blankly mysterious to be much fun.
Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1978
ISBN: 0810950332
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1978


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