Barbapapa is both the title character and the name of the species. It all started in 1970 with a series of children’s books written by Annette Tison and Tilus Taylor. They both lived in Paris at the time.
Roughly translated Barbapapa is the French word for cotton candy. So technically the Barbapapas are very sweet both literaly and figuratively.
The inspiration for Barbapapa came by chance in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris one day in May 1970. While walking in the park with Annette Tison, Talus Taylor thought he heard a child ask his parents for something called “Baa baa baa baa”. Not speaking French, he asked Tison what the words meant. She explained that the child was asking for a treat called la barbe à papa (cotton candy). Later at a restaurant, the couple began to draw on the tablecloth, and came up with a character inspired by the candy: a pink and round character. When it came to give it a name, Barbapapa came naturally.
The official description of Barbapapa says: “Barbapapa was born in a garden, just like a flower.
He can take any form. He is very nice, everybody likes him. Not far from the village where his friends Cindy and Frank live, he has built a house like him for his family. With a few shape shifting and a brilliant imagination, he smoothly overcomes the most difficult situations! He is always ready to help. His goodwill is inexhaustible.”
Barbapapa himself is a generally papaya-shaped, pink shapeshifting blob-like creature who stumbles upon the human world and tries to fit in. The shapeshifting is usually accompanied by the saying “Clickety Click—Barba Trick”.
Slowly but surely Barbapapa meets other barbapapas. Their names all begin with Barb but end differently like Babidur, Babibul, Barbalala and so on.
Over the years the Barbapapa series have become very popular. So popular even Google celebrated them on their search engine site. They have been translated to more than 30 languages. To this day there is new content being made and there are lots of toys made after the funny characters including many soft toys.
So Happy Birthday Barbapapas! We are looking forward to another 45 years of fun.