Barbapapa is huge in Switzerland. He is everywhere. I am a big fan of the main pink 'papa' splodgy character so since I moved here I have slowly been accruing a collection of daddy Barbapapa memorabilia (mainly from Winterthur's bargain flea markets as the new stuff is very expensive) I now have a pencil case, pencils, a big cuddly Barbapapa (which I picked up in the Manor january sale) and a fantastic poster which my local library put to one side for me (I asked them if they would mind giving it to me when they finished displaying it last year) We also often get the dvds out of our library (although each story is preceded by the most annoying song – and because they are only five minutes long it is on annoyingly often) But my 5-year-old loves them so how can I deny her? (the stories are wonderful, promoting universal family, friendly and environmental values)
Barbapapa was created on 19 May 1970 by French architect and writer Annette Tison and her American partner Talus Taylor (who died in February aged 82) The story goes that the pair, who lived in Paris, were walking in the Luxembourg Gardens when Taylor heard a child asking his parents for a 'baa baa baa baa'. Not speaking French, he asked Tison what it was that the child wanted. She explained he was asking for “barbe-à-papa” (daddy’s beard), which is French for candy floss. A while later in a restaurant the couple began to draw the characters on the tablecloth. The drawings were an instant success, later being made into nearly 100 five-minute television cartoons in the 1970s. It has since been translated into 30 languages.