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FOG ISLAND by Tomi Ungerer Kirkus Star


by Tomi Ungerer ; illustrated by Tomi Ungerer

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 16th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7148-6535-5
Publisher: Phaidon

The renowned Ungerer presents an atmospheric, folkloric adventure celebrating the childhood imagination’s ability to transform fear.

Finn, Cara and their parents farm traditionally along the coast, raising food, fishing, cutting peat and spinning wool. Their father builds his children a rowboat (called a curragh), admonishing them to avoid eerie Fog Island. While the siblings are out exploring, an enveloping fog and strong currents necessitate an emergency landing on the island. Climbing steps up spooky rock cliffs, they encounter the Fog Man, his hair and beard cascading to his ankles. After showing them how he uses valves, the Earth’s magma and seawater to make fog, he provides songs, seafood stew and a good night’s rest. Next morning, though they wake in a ruined room with no sign of the Fog Man, bowls of hot stew await them. Finn and Cara’s mysterious, shared experiences on Fog Island belie their neighbors’ skepticism, and when, weeks later, Cara finds a very long hair in her soup, they giggle knowingly. Ungerer’s pictures are cloaked in deliberate, misty grays and browns, accented with blue-green and red. Details abound, including sly ones: Might that be the author, fiddling at the pub, just below a mysterious, flowing mane of hair? The publisher’s ever-lovely bookmaking is evidenced in the creamy stock, crisp typography and embossed boards.

Dedicated to Ungerer’s adopted Ireland and its people, this is a poignant, magical gift for us all. (Picture book. 4-8)