PPBF: Adelaide, The Flying Kangaroo

Author/Illustrator: Tomi Ungerer
Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2011 (First published in German, Diogenes, 1980)
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: kangaroos, flight, courage, uniqueness
Opening: Adelaide’s parents were surprised when they saw that their daughter had wings.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Adelaide, a kangaroo with wings, discovers that her unique anatomy and abilities bring her fame and fortune in Paris.

I like this book because: the story line does not follow ‘traditional’  patterns and norms,  as in escalating scenes or the protagonist having a strong hand in solving the ‘conflict’. Adelaide doesn’t see her uniqueness as a problem, she embraces it.  That was enough to satisfy me, as well as Ungerer’s ability to tell so much with so few lines. I recently watched a documentary on Ungerer, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough, and was touched by the way Maurice Sendalk spoke of him. In an article Sendak once described Ungerer’s work as passionate and personal – “it’s marvelous and it’s cuckoo and it’s that kind of veracity that’s always made for good children’s literature” (The New York Times, Sept 2011). Random tidbit: Amazon has a choking hazard warning for this book on their site! Go figure!

Resources/activitiesVintage Kid’s Books My Kid Loves posted a recommendation, and a list of Ungerer titles you might be interested in – click on any of the links for more on each book; discuss things that might make us unique, special and different from other family members or friends.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is on hiatus for the summer, but there are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

“Be different so that people can see you clearly amongst the crowds.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

21 thoughts on “PPBF: Adelaide, The Flying Kangaroo

  1. Julie, The choking hazard has me intrigued. I love Tomi Ungerer. Crictor is one of my favorite books. I saw the documentary and was watching it with my seven-year old when I realized it was SO inappropriate for a child. TV went off extremely quickly.


  2. I would be really happy to see a boxed set of Adelaide, Emile, Crictor, Rufus and Orlando.

    And Robin’s comment has me curious about the documentary. Salty language?


  3. P.S. I read “Flix” to a first grade class and they were totally engrossed. And the scene in the delivery room when the dog gives birth to a kitten (mother’s knees up, doctor holding up kitten by feet) thrilled them. Just the “edge” of naughty.


  4. I’m not familiar with Adelaide and have not read any of Mr Ungerer’s books. I have heard a lot about him though and think that maybe he is a rather intriguing figure. Maybe some people might choke on his humor?


  5. Returning to add – I felt compelled check this out of my library and re-read for old times sake. The scene in customs/douane where her pouch is searched – priceless!


  6. Pingback: PPBF: Ungerer-vaganza | julie rowan-zoch

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