Tomi Ungerer books are cheeky little secrets. Reading them, I’m slyly giggling all the way… and I read them over and over again.
His early stories focused on seemingly detestable characters – vulture, snake, octopus, and bat. Rufus tells the story of the black, winged one. Below is a beautiful French version published by l’ecole des loisirs:
One dark night, Rufus the bat finds a drive-in movie theater and longs to see the bright colors of the day. When he sees the butterflies, he decides to paint himself to fit in. Unsurprisingly, the humans are frightened. I love how Ungerer plays between the dark and light in this book.
A butterfly collector finds Rufus, thinking he’s spotted a rare type of butterfly. When he sees that it is a hurt (and painted) bat, the collector cares for Rufus and bandages him up with big X shaped bandages. They become best friends and butterfly-collecting partners.
I could read this book over and over. And a simple story like this makes me think I can speak French. Buy it in any language. Or you could find it here en Francais.