The Story of Babar the Elephant

St. James Cavalier Center for Creativity


Age range: Good for 10-13 year olds

Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! This interactive takes about 60 minutes to complete.

Key Technology: You can use this on a computer or whiteboard—but you will need speakers (or headphones) to hear the music and narration.

This interactive explores a musical illustration of the time-honored and beloved children’s tale The Story of Babar the Elephant. Students will consider the use of different instruments to tell a story, represent a character, or relate a series of events.

Think About...

Listening Strategy:

Before you get started, think of what you already know about the different instruments used in the performance. Keep this in mind as you explore the interactive.

As you listen, stop the audio track now and then to sum up what you have learned and to record the events of the story so far.

Assessment Ideas

  • Have students make a chronology/timeline of The Story of Babar as they are listening to the performance. After they finish listening, have students illustrate their timeline.
  • Have students select another children’s story with which they are familiar and ask them to “cast” instruments to represent the characters and events in their chosen story in the same fashion as the performance they watched.
  • Have students assign instruments to each family member or friend and create a personal “symphony.”


  • Make a list of each of the instruments and the characters or events they represent.

Critical Thinking

  • Why do you think the musicians chose the instruments they did to represent each of the animals?
  • Are there specific qualities of each instrument that lend themselves particularly well to certain animals? Why?
  • Do you think there are instruments that should have been used in this performance that would have been more effective than the ones used by the musicians? If so, why?
  • If you were going to be represented by an instrument, what would it be and why?

Quiz Yourself!

  • How many different instruments were used in the performance?

Learn More

Dig Deeper!

Learn more about the different interpretations of the character of Babar by reading this article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article602843.ece

Read about an exhibition of the art of Babar created by author Jean de Brunhoff: http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=4

For the Educator

The Story of Babar the Elephant

  • Sarah Spiteri – narrator
  • Alex Vella Gregory – piano
  • Renzo Spiteri – percussion
  • Godfrey Mifsud – clarinet

St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity first opened its doors to the public on the 22nd September 2000. As the Maltese Government's Millennium Project it has taken on the role of pushing forward Malta's cultural aspirations.

With a strong commitment to supporting the contemporary creative scene, the Centre's philosophy is to also take in, reflect and support the country's traditional and historical heritage and culture.

Now celebrating its 10th year, the centre has welcomed both local and foreign artists, writers, singers and actors, dancers, musicians as well as thinkers, scientists and other creators. It has staged operas and premiered plays, held major exhibitions of contemporary pieces as well as past masters.

About the performance:

From the original stories by Jean de Brunhoff, with glorious music by Francois Poulenc, comes a charming musical tale for children, with an exciting and new orchestration scored for piano, clarinet, percussion and narrator. Apart from the musical tale, the children are actively involved in creating a story which will be animated by the improvisations of the musicians.

The Artists:

The performance is led by Sarah Spiteri who has been actively involved in developing fun musical projects for the past four years. She has directed original productions The Magic Flute, Peter and the Wolf, The Carnival of Animals and the very successful and popular Teddy Bear Concert series which is in its fifth year. She will be joined by top and award-winning Maltese musicians.

Instructional Strategies

This interactive lends itself to large-group, interactive discussions as well as to independent work.



Daniella Garran
Original Writer

Email Print Share


- +
Email a link to this page
Share This Page


Related Resources

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

The US Department of Education 

ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

Change Background:

Connect with us!    EMAIL US | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes | MORE!

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  
    Privacy Policy
| Terms and Conditions


You are now leaving the ArtsEdge website. Thank you for visiting!

If you are not automatically transferred, please click the link below:

ArtsEdge and The Kennedy Center are in no way responsible for the content of the destination site, its ongoing availability, links to other site or the legality or accuracy of information on the site or its resources.