Barbapapa’s New House – A book so good I’m featuring it for a SECOND time!

posted in: Annette Tison, Talus Taylor | 2

barbapapasnewhousecoverBack in 2010 I chose a book very dear to my heart in celebration of my 100th post on Playing by the book: Barbapapa’s New House by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor. I am now feeling very old, as this will be my 770th post on Playing by the book and it is celebrating the fact that Barbapapa’s New House is back in print!

To celebrate this fantastic occasion I was luxuriating in thinking about what I loved and love still about this book. And it is – appropriately enough – the houses, the homes of the barbapapas. 670 posts ago we made a dollshouse that looked like the new Barbabpapa home…

Image taken from my old edition of Barbapapa's New House
Image taken from my old edition of Barbapapa’s New House


…but this time I was dreaming about the old Barbapapa home, with its romantic turret and fairytale quality.

Image taken from my old edition of Barbapapa's New House
Image taken from my old edition of Barbapapa’s New House

As a child I longed to live in a house like this one. And when I recently saw that none other than Judith Kerr had lived in something similar as a child (there’s a video of her visiting it here) I sighed wistfully.

Our 1930s ex-council house isn’t nearly as magical, but to bring a bit of that old fashioned charm and beauty into our home I thought I’d create some colouring-in pages based on the Barbapapas gorgeous old house.


Click to download and print the colouring-in sheets:

  • Barbapapa street in its entirety (the houses are small, as this prints onto A4)

  • colouringinlarge

    For larger houses (2 per A4 sheet and much easier for little hands to colour in) use this series:

  • Barbapapa Street part 0
  • Barbapapa Street part 1
  • Barbapapa Street part 2
  • Barbapapa Street part 3
  • Barbapapa Street part 4
  • Barbapapa Street part 5

  • To make these colouring in sheets I used a series of images I found in the British Library’s Photostream on Flickr . Back in December last year the British Library released over 1 million images from 17th, 18th and 19th century books in their collection, making them available for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.

    I’ve previously blogged about some of the vintage children’s book illustrations I found but all the illustrations I used for the Barbapapa colouring in sheets come from Strassburg und seine Bauten. Herausgegeben vom Architekten- und Ingenieur-Verein für Elsass-Lothringen. Mit 655 Abbildungen in Text, etc, published in 1894 by Architekten- und Ingenieur-Verein für Elsass-Lothringen. I used the trace function in Inkscape to create clean(er) black and white images, and the same programme to put them together in order to create my dream street.


    Using felt glued to card and googly eyes I created a Barbapapa family and the girls then coloured in the street I’d created. Here’s the final result!




    I hope the Barbapapas capture your kids’ imagination just as much as they did mine – there’s so much to love about them from their inventiveness and thoughtfulness to their playfulness. You don’t need to read the books in any set order to enjoy them so if Barbapapas are new to you, please do seek out the gorgeous book that is Barbapapa’s New House and let me know what you think of it.

    Thanks got Damyanti and her family for trialling the colouring-in sheets.

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Barbapapa’s New House from the publisher.

    2 Responses

    1. Ben O'Steen

      Beautiful! They really do look the part 🙂

      (Thank you for linking to the originals too!)

    2. […] October, 2013. There will be a report on the amazing stories that have emerged from skateboards, colouring books, soundscapes, videos, art therapy, georeferencing maps and sounds inspired by the collection, just […]

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