Huge thanks to Ricky for sharing these wonderful five books! It’s been really fun reading about his favorites. (And sorry I took so long to post them!)
I can’t believe that I have gone so long in my life without knowing Tomi Ungerer. Upon reading of him, I was initially struck by his illustrations for this book. I loved the character of the Moon Man with all of his Uncle Fester-like qualities. The cherubic grin and innocent wonder in his face are a perfect contrast for his stark whiteness and bald head. His old man suit distinctly finishes the look.
The book itself is the tale of an outsider, misunderstood and driven away because he is different. This outsider, The Moon Man, comes to Earth to see what it’s all about after so long just watching. The story’s details are perfectly weird and its commentary smart. The attitudes of the government officials and very important committees seem to have a Dr. Strangelove feel. The ice cream man on his bicycle nods to our consumerism in the wake of any major occurrence but the whole approach is absurd and the results are adorable.
Ungerer’s work is prolific as he has been writing and illustrating children’s books since the 1950’s. Luckily, there is a retrospective of his work currently at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA. Check it out here. And buy Moon Man here.
And yes, the actual book has that same smell that I remember from all of my Big Golden Mercer Mayers (Some of you know what I’m talking about…). I’m so glad that Phaidon has been publishing such wonderful stories for children.