This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Story of Babar. The beloved little elephant first came to life in the bedtime stories Cecile de Brunhoff, a French pianist, told her young sons. They loved the Babar stories so much, their father, Jean de Brunhoff, illustrated and published them. Sadly, Jean died at the young age of 37, but his son Laurent carried on, and has written and illustrated more than 30 Babar books. He is currently working on a new one.
I have fond memories of reading Babar Learns to Cook to my kids when they were small. Here's a New York Times article about Babar.
Here's a picture of the author/illustrator in 2008.