Barbapapa is both the title character, and name of the "species" of said character, of a series of children's books written in the 1970s by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor, who resided in Paris, France. The books were originally written in French (barbe à papa - literally "Daddy's beard" - is French for cotton candy or candy floss), and were later translated into over 30 languages. The first publisher who saw something in the concept was Frank Fehmers of Frank Fehmers Productions in Amsterdam, after Talus Taylor had shown the manuscript to several European publishers who expressed interest but did not wish to embark on spending the publishing cost. Frank Fehmers Productions subsequently set up a co-production and the first edition was published in French, English, and American English. A few years later, when more titles had been published, Fehmers expanded the project to television films in conjunction with Joop Visch of Polyscope-Polygram, with the story boards designed by Taylor. After twelve years, Fehmers and Tison/Taylor discontinued their business relationship. As short cartoons of a length of only five minutes, the Barbapapa stories reached a broader audience via TV. Also a comic book version was created. Both the cartoons and comics sometimes show concerns about the environment and contain environmental messages.
The first Barbapapa theme's lyrics were written by Harry Geelen, and the music composed by Joop Stokkermans.