December 21, 2008

Freaky Tomi Ungerer Books Are Coming Back In Print

From the late 1950's to around 1970 when his self-published collections of erotica kind of pushed his editors over the edge, Tomi Ungerer was an edgy, awesome, dominant influence in the children's book world. Even if the US market couldn't handle much more frank darkness than Ungerers' friends Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein, it turns out Ungerer's been doing just fine, thanks.

His books have been doing fine in other languages, and though many Ungerer classics have been out of print in English for years, the art publisher [?] Phaidon is reissuing around 20 titles. The first comes back in February 2009, The Three Robbers, a 1962 tale of highwaymen and unwanted children with artwork that looks like a straight-line inspiration for Sesame Street's "Jazzy Spies" animations several years later. Stay tuned.

In The 2006 DT Bizarre Book Contest, Marya reviewed Ungerer's, No Kiss For Mother. If you have a favorite Tomi Ungerer book--I didn't realize he did Crictor the boa constrictor, which I loved as a kid--give it a shoutout in the comments.

Goodnight Blunderbuss: NYT Book Review of The Three Robbers [nytimes]
Pre-order The Three Robbers at Amazon [amazon]
from July 2008: Watch Ttomi_ungerer_robbers.jpghe Children, The Subversive Is Back [nyt]


The Three Robbers is wonderful--very simply but evocatively drawn. Glad that they are putting it back into print, though why it was delayed til after Christmas is beyond me (it was supposed to be Sept. or Oct.)

Short films of both The Three Robbers and The Moon Man are on the DVD of Pete's A Pizza from Scholastic. My kids love those stories.

There was a German animated feature-length production of the Three Robbers released last Christmas -- took the Girl to see it. We loved it!! It was a refreshing break from the Disney and Hollywood animated stuff.

We saw it in French, and I know it is available on DVD in both French and the original German. Hopefully it gets translated soon.

Here is a clip from the French -- the music and sound were an intrinsic part of the movie, and set the atmosphere very effectively. on Ungerer. Just played the Toronto festival. Wish I'd caught his book signing.

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