Q & A with Tomi Ungerer By Antonia Saxon Jun 09, 201
Tomi Ungerer’s name is instantly recognizable to those who grew up reading his books in the 1960s and ’70s: The Three Robbers, Crictor the Boa Constrictor, Moon Man, among others, were perennial bestsellers. But Ungerer’s catalog was allowed to go out of print when his outspoken political views and ribald erotic drawings alarmed U.S. publishers, though his books continued to sell widely in Europe. Now U.K.-based art publisher Phaidon has begun reprinting Ungerer’s children’s titles. Meanwhile, at 80, Ungerer has achieved elder statesman status in Europe. Winner of the coveted Hans Christian Andersen award in 1998, he is also the only living illustrator to have had a museum dedicated to his work; the Tomi Ungerer Museum in Strasbourg, France, opened in 2007. In celebration of his 80th birthday, Ungerer was invited to visit the U.S., where the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., has mounted a retrospective exhibition of his work, and where, this evening in New York City, he will appear in conversation with Jules Feiffer at the Society of Illustrators. Ungerer spoke withBookshelfby phone. Welcome back to the United States! It’s been a long time—over 10 years—since you’ve been here, right? Oh, it’s a pilgrimage! I’ve so much wanted to see New York again. It’s more difficult for me to travel nowadays, you know, but the needle cannot avoid the magnet, this huge magnet that is New York City. I love it here. It’s wonderful to be back. New York is just like a big battery, you know, it gives you such energy. There are so many languages being spoken here that if people don’t understand each other they smile at each other instead—the smile does the work of a whole dictionary! And I’m very much looking forward to seeing Jules [Feiffer]. He’s an old friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a long time—and I’m at the stage where I have to write little crosses next to some of the names in my address book, so I’m very happy that he’s still here. And I’m delighted as well to be talking to Publishers Weekly. This is the magazine that published the very first article about my first book (The Mellops Go Flying, edited by Ursula Nordstrom); it was the first thing ever written about me and my work.
Join @tomiungerer and @booksofwonder this Saturday.
Whatever your plans are for this Saturday afternoon, cancel them now! For we have just arranged to have a visit at Books of Wonder from one of the true giants of modern children’s books — TOMI UNGERER!
There are very few picture book authors or artists whose work I hold in such high esteem as the work of TOMI UNGERER.
From The Three Robbers and Crictor to The Moon Man andAdelaide, TOMI UNGERER has a singular genius for engaging, enchanting, and expanding young minds and imaginations. In my opinion, his work has been as innovative and instrumental in transforming the picture book as the works of Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss.
It is for this reason that I am extremely proud and truly thrilled to announce that Books of Wonder will be welcoming world renowned author and artist TOMI UNGERER for his only independent book store visit in NYC on this Saturday, June 11th at 4pm.
Since his first book The Mellops Go Flying in 1957 TOMI UNGERERhas established himself as a star in the world of children’s literature. Author and artist of over 140 books, he has been recognized as among the world’s great authors and artists for children, having won the coveted Hans Christian Andersen Medal — the most prestigious award in children’s literature.
Visiting the USA for the first time in many years, TOMI UNGERER is here for the opening of an art exhibition of his work at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts next week. We are both thrilled and privileged to have been able to arrange for this appearance while stopping over in New York.
So please do not miss this incredible chance to meet one of the giants of children’s literature. It will be my great honor to interview TOMI UNGERER as he shares insights and stories about his amazing career, after which he will take questions from the audience and then sign copies of all his amazing books!
I look forward to seeing you this Saturday, June 11th, at 4pm!
Books of Wonder is proud to be a part of Make Music New York 2011, join us for a live concert in front of Books of Wonder and share in the fun starting at 2pm on June 21st.
Now in its fifth year, Make Music New York, “the largest music event ever to grace Gotham” (Metro New York), is a unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City, all on June 21st, the first day of summer. MMNY takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 460 cities around the world — a global celebration of music making.
The next Make Music New York is on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.From 11 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. From high school bands to marquee names, MMNY is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend.