Babar the Elephant, a timeless figure of children's literature, turns 75 this year, his trademark crown and green suit unmarked by changing fashions and criticism that his jungle realm is a relic of colonialism.
Babar was created in 1931 when Cecile de Brunhoff, a piano teacher, told her two sons the story of an elephant whose mother is killed by hunters and who flees to a town where he learns to dress as a human.
"My brother and I loved the story and we rushed into my father's studio — he was a painter — to tell him," Laurent de Brunhoff, who was six when his mother made the tale up, said.
"He drew some images and developed the idea. He gave Babar his name, because my mother hadn't given him one," he said.
The boys' father, Jean de Brunhoff, showed the sketches to a relative who worked in magazines and the story was published as a book, becoming an instant success.