July 11, 2006

DT Bizarre Book Contest: No Kiss For Mother


Title: No Kiss For Mother [image: from a copy on ebay]
Written and illustrated by: Tomi Ungerer
Reviewer: Marya

It's been pointed out by one commentator that some of the books reviewed here are unintentionally strange, while others are meant to be weird. No Kiss For Mother was obviously created from a gleefully subversive angle, but even with that in mind there are several truly puzzling "wtf?" moments.

No Kiss For Mother tells the story of a young cat named Piper Paw. Piper is tormented by his smothering, kissy, lovey, mother. She treats him like a baby, turning a blind eye to his horrendous behavior. That's until one day when he pushes her too far.

Writer Tomi Ungerer's smudgy grey artwork creates a world of anthropomorphized cats which is more disturbing than cute. When Piper's mother makes mouse mush for breakfast, we are treated to an illustration of a mouse butt disappearing into a meat grinder. Piper's father works at a "rat processing plant."

There is a drawing of a large machine pulling rats into a bin with spiked wheels and rollers. Piper's father beats him with a cane as punishment for disrespecting his mother, and later in the book Piper gets into a physical altercation with a classmate which results in his ear nearly being torn off. The text reads: "He is bleeding like a fountain."

After fighting, the two boys hide out in a school bathroom and smoke cigars. "Fresh Coronas." Odder still is a cat in the background of one of the crowd scenes. He is wearing what appears to be a German military uniform with an armband. The armband has a question mark on it. He has a tiny, square mustache and is apparently hiding it behind his newspaper. Wtf?!

This book is hilarious in a kind of feline DONNIE DARKO way. I love it, but if your kid is the type to imitate stuff in stories you may wish to give this one a pass.


This cat looks just like my 14 year old cranky Piewackett! Maybe it explains her charming disposition. We'll definitely be getting this one for research purposes. I checked it out online and the author has a zillion other children's books (including illustrations for the 1964 "Flat Stanley"), a personal Holocaust memoir and, uh, a Taschen book called "Erotoscope" that hopefully does not feature cats...

I had that book as a child! I loved it. The drawings are just wonderful. Gotta see if I can find it for my son.
I remember his mother combing a fish and a bathroom where he hid ,I think?
Very weird book.

That was my favorite book as a child!!!! I was the best story ever!

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