The Three Robbers
Tomi Ungerer ~ Atheneum, 1962
Have been checking out every Ungerer I can get my hands on from the library to give them a test ride before I splurge for my own copies, and I have to say, The Three Robbers is my new fave. My son flips for the mystery and the darkness and the fact that these villains/heroes wield an axe, a blunderbuss and a pepper-blower. He is totally entranced by a story that is on one hand deliciously foreboding and yet, at the flick of a page, calm and safe and wondrous. My absolute favorite kind of story!
Once upon a time there were three fierce robbers. They went about hidden under large black capes and tall black hats.... In the dark of night, they walked the roads, searching for victims.
They terrified everyone. Women fainted. Brave men ran. Dogs fled.
As with all things Ungerer, don't get too comfortable with your perceptions, as all things that seem rotten on the outside are sure to have a heart of gold. When the trio accidentally plunder the carriage of an orphan girl, they fall in love and learn to use their powers of evil and their vast riches for good.
Ungerer's psyche fascinates me to no end. I will admit here that he's been added to my children's book crushes... but not in the sweet, snugly way I love Jack Kent and Roy McKie... He's way too subversive for that. Let's just say even at the ripe old age of 78, I wouldn't turn him away if he came a-calling. (Wink, wink.) But hey, this blog is rated G right, so back to business.
The Three Robbers... three thumbs up. And please, check out the Weston Woods video and scans of the French version on my new favorite book blog. Not to be missed. (Reissued by Phaidon in 2009.)
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