Jean de Brunhoff (born December 9, 1899, in Paris, France) was a writer and illustrator known for co-creating Babar, which first appeared in 1931. The stories were originally told to their son by his wife Cecile de Brunhoff. Their son then told the stories back to his father, Jean, who (being an artist) decided to paint them. Friends encouraged them to publish a book, and Babar became famous. It was a phenomenal success in France and also did well in the United States, England, and other European countries.
By the time he married pianist Cecile Sabouraud in 1924, Brunhoff had become an established painter of portraits and still lifes. Two of their three sons were born during the first years of their marriage. But though they were blessed with a third son in 1935, he learned that he had tuberculosis. Jean was forced to spend most of his remaining years in a sanitorium in Switzerland, seeing his family only occasionally. To help maintain contact with his children, however, Brunhoff continued to write Babar books; the beginnings of these were often stories he mailed to his children in letters. Brunhoff died on October 16, 1937.
Both Babar and His Children and Babar and Father Christmas were published posthumously. With the Babar series, Brunhoff revolutionized the style of children's books—making the books larger, doing the text in cursive script, and filling the pictures with interesting details that children could explore at their own pace.
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