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ADELAIDE by Tomi Ungerer


by Tomi Ungerer & illustrated by Tomi Ungerer

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7148-6083-1
Publisher: Phaidon

The third English edition of a justly obscure tale (it was originally published in 1959) featuring a winged kangaroo whose travels end in Paris.

As soon as she’s able, Adelaide flies away from her parents—first to visit India and other locales with a pilot, then to tour Paris with a well-to-do gentleman, become an exotic dancer in his music hall and injure herself rescuing two children from a burning building. Recovering, she falls in love with a kangaroo in a local zoo and, after a fancy church wedding, settles down to produce little winged offspring with the rather fatuous reflection that “her adventures could have only happened with her special set of wings.” The terse text is matched to sketchy, two-color illustrations in which the garish red of earlier versions has been replaced with a drab, café-au-lait brown. Unlike recent revivals of Ungerer titles—Three Robbers (2008), Moon Man (2009) and especially Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear (2010)—this both shows its age and offers no compensatory graphic interest or emotional depth. While it could be read as a metaphorical bildungsroman by adults, children will likely be indifferent.

Slight when new, it’s now a period piece to boot. (Picture book. 6-8)