Barbapapa: French, whimsical, groovy, psychedelic! Who IS Barbapapa? Well, Barbe A Papa, (I don't know how to do accents on the computer,) means cotton candy in French, literally, Papa's beard! Barbapapa is a stretchy pink fellow with a large family: Barbamama, Barbidou, Barbibul, Barbouille, Barbalala, Barbidur, Barbabelle, and Barbotine. The family can stretch themselves into any shape they want. This is very helpful when they are babysitting their little friend, Alice. Not only does Barbidur feed Alice her meal with a little spoon, but he stretches himself into a high-chair to hold her.
Barbalala can make herself into a very warm and comfortable stroller for Alice's walk.
The parents can make themselves into tents for the children when they camp in the countryside. This seems like an excellent image for being a parent...able to stretch in any direction to love, care, and protect your children. And the family builds their new home using Barbapapa as a mold. They cover him with plastic, and when it hardens.....
Barbapapa squeezes out through the doorway. Voila! They create an entire home of interconnecting pods like this, with a bedroom suitable for each child's talents and interests.
In my favorite book, Barbapapa: La Cuisine, the whole family makes Barbapapa something special to eat for his birthday. Barbamama is making cakes, and they look so delicious that Barbidou disguises himself as a cake. Then he is able to "eat tranquilly" without Barbamama noticing.
Uh-oh! Barbamama thought he WAS a cake and almost put Barbidou in the oven!
The children get a scolding. "Si les enfants ne sont pas sages, il doivent sortir de la cuisine!" I used to say that sometimes when I was very busy in the kitchen and my youngest was underfoot and could understand French. It means, "If the children don't behave, they must leave the kitchen!"
Most of the time I love being in the kitchen with the children. Nicholas is a real chef in New York City now. My daughter studied French pastry. And my youngest likes to make cookies and cake, lick the beater, and eat.
The Barbapapa books I have told you about, written in the 1970's by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor, are "Barbapapa: Babysitter," "La Maison de Barbapapa," and "Barbapapa: La Cuisine." They are published by Dragon D'Or.