The Reading Nook | The Three Robbers
Well, my friends, I have another wonderful find for you – it’s Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers. It has all of the yummy ingredients that make a picture book special – wit, charm, fabulous illustrations and unique to Tomi – a bit of darkness too. Did you know that he inspired Maurice Sendak to write Where the Wild Things Are and encouraged Shel Silverstein to begin writing childrens’ books? Ungerer was one of the most famous and highly regarded writer of childrens’ books in the 1960′s and early 1970′s.
Three robbers in black hats and capes search the roads in the dark of night for victims. “They terrified everyone. Women fainted. Brave men ran. Dogs fled”.
One of the reasons that I love Tomi’s books is his vocabulary. Nothing simple for your kids. Instead of a gun, pepper spray and an axe, the robbers have a blunderbuss, a pepper-blower, and a huge red axe. Blunderbuss – isn’t that a great word?
Of course each has a specific purpose by the three robbers – blowing pepper in the horses’ eyes, the axe to chop the carriage wheels and the blunderbuss to steal from the passengers. Well, not steal but “plunder”.
And the illustrations are detailed and almost medieval in look. Tomi came to NYC in 1956 with $60 in his pocket and immediately became a key player in what was the golden age of illustration.
You’ll have to read it to find out what happens when their next plunder turns out to be an orphan named Tiffany. I’ll give you a hint – it DOES end well.
Tomi, now 80, began drawing at age 9. He rarely uses an eraser and instead redraws his pictures up to 30 times, rarely satisfied. A Hans Christian Andersen award winner for illustration, Tomi is now the Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador for Children. “Curiosity is vital. The finest gift you can give your children is a magnifying glass, so with a little effort they can make their own discoveries”.
Out of print for almost 30 years, The Three Robbers will delight you and your kids, ages 3-8.