PPBF: Ungerer-vaganza

Today is Tomi Ungerer’s birthday and we need to celebrate!

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Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2013
Ages: 5-8yrs
Themes: children, fog, coastal/rural life
Opening: Finn and Cara were brother and sister. They lived by the sea in the back of beyond. (the opening sets the fairytale feel)
Summary: (from the publisher) No one has ever returned from the mysterious Fog Island, but when Finn and Cara get castaway on its murky shores, they discover things are not quite as they expect… Will anyone ever believe them?

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Why I like this book: though written in a rather adult voice, the child in the author is definitely inviting the child in the reader with lines like these: ‘Fog Island loomed like a jagged black tooth’, ‘But to be lonesome is not a reason to get bored’, or ‘It tasted awful but felt strangely heartening’. Living in a very dry, landlocked place I miss the ocean and fog – the art in the book present a cloudy, cool and moist feel so well I can smell the salt on the air. A perfect read for a grey day – don’t forget a cup of tea!

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Resources/activities – for kids: use this book when studying a weather unit, and make fog in a jar – HERE; check out this German Kindergarten, ‘Die Katze’ designed by Tomi Ungerer and architect Ayla-Suzan Yöndel; just for adults: Check out the wonderful documentary, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough (NOT for the little uns‘): HEREvisit the Tomi Ungerer Museum: International Center for Illustration in Strasbourg (voted one of the 10 best museums in Europe by the Council of Europe); for interested adults: watch the B-movie horror film (same title, not the same content!) from 1945 (poster image below); if ever in Nantucket visit the Fog Island Cafe;

Really want to know more, don’t you! Check out the timeline on his official website – HERE; The Free Library of Philadelphia has a collection of Tomi Ungerer papersTomi Ungerer is a candidate for the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) ‘The World’s Largest Children’s Literature Award’; Follow Tomi Ungerer on Facebook, or Twitter

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Here is a list (mostly) from Wikipedia of his children’s picture books (available in English), including two I have already recommended:

  • The Mellops Go Flying (1957)
  • Mellops Go Diving for Treasure (1957)
  • Crictor (1958)
  • The Mellops Strike Oil (1958)
  • Adelaide (1959)
  • Christmas Eve at the Mellops (1960)
  • Emile (1960)
  • Rufus (1961)
  • The Three Robbers (1961)
  • Snail, Where Are You? (1962)
  • Mellops Go Spelunking (1963)
  • Flat Stanley (1964) — art by Tomi Ungerer, written by Jeff Brown
  • One, Two, Where’s My Shoe? (1964)
  • Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls (1964) — art by Tomi Ungerer, poems collected by William Cole
  • Oh, What Nonsense! (1966) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • Orlando, the Brave Vulture (1966)
  • Warwick’s Three Bottles (1966) – with André Hodeir
  • Cleopatra Goes Sledding (1967) – with André Hodeir
  • What’s Good for a 4-Year-Old? (1967) — art by Tomi Ungerer, text by William Cole
  • Moon Man (Der Mondmann) (Diogenes Verlag, 1966)
  • Zeralda’s Ogre (1967)
  • Ask Me a Question (1968)
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1969) — text by Barbara Hazen
  • Oh, How Silly! (1970) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • The Hat (1970)
  • I Am Papa Snap and These Are My Favorite No Such Stories (1971)
  • The Beast of Monsieur Racine (1971)
  • The Hut (1972)
  • Oh, That’s Ridiculous! (1972) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • No Kiss for Mother (1973)
  • Allumette; A Fable, with Due Respect to Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, and the Honorable Ambrose Bierce (1974)
  • Tomi Ungerer’s Heidi: The Classic Novel (1997) — art by Tomi Ungerer, text by Johanna Spyri
  • Flix (1998)
  • Tortoni Tremelo the Cursed Musician (1998)
  • Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear (1999)
  • Snail, Where Are You? (2005)
  • Zloty (2009)
  • Fog Island (2013)

One more treat – the trailer to a film based on the book MOON MAN

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For more PPBF picks packed with resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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19 thoughts on “PPBF: Ungerer-vaganza

  1. We watched Far Out Isn’t Far Enough and it was very interesting. I also got the eponymous book but it was nothing like the movie. Haven’t actually read his children’s books though, so will need to check Fog Island and Moon Man out.

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  2. Yes, a great day to celebrate his birthday. Love it that he has been known as a madman, crazy, wild throughout his career. He seems like someone who was very daring and realistic in what he illustrated and wrote — daring to go where others didn’t. That explains the adult like language as I imagine the story is intended for adults as well. Typical Julie selection! Love it1

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