The three Robbers has been translated into sixteen languages and has sold millions of copies in the 45 years since it was first written and published (in 1962) by Tomi Ungerer, one of the world's most famous and best-loved children's authors. An illustrator, writer, designer, toy-collector and archivist of human absurdity, his work spans storybooks, poster designs, political campaigns and films. He is a recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen prize for illustration, and the Musée Tomi Ungerer, devoted exclusively to his work, opened in Strasbourg in 2007.
Tomi Ungerer has been described as 'the direct natural descendent of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen' and, like all the best fairy tales, The Three Robbers is by turns scary, charming, and surprising. It begins scary and dark but ends with joy and happiness.
The book tells the story of three fierce black-clad robbers who terrorize and plunder the countryside, armed with a blunderbuss, a pepper blower, and a huge red axe. One night, they meet a small girl called Tiffany, who is on her way to live with a wicked aunt. Tiffany is happy to meet the robbers, and they take her back to their hideout instead of their usual haul of gold and jewels. Tiffany asks what they plan to do with their riches, but the robbers had never thought about spending money before. They soon find themselves embarking on a completely new career: they gather all of the lost, unhappy, and abandoned children that they can find, and then they buy a big and beautiful castle where they can give all of the children a new and a happy home.
Using a simple chalk art style with few sentences and lots of big pictures, kids enjoy this colorful book. The story feels like an original fairy tale with a clear message of needing to be caring to others and of good overcoming evil in the end.
Clear and effective is the passage from evil to good through the pictures: black capes and black caps become red capes and red caps after the three robbers' redemption.
On this meaningful part of the story is based the artistic lab related to the book. The children were asked to create a double puppet representing the robbers before and after their inner change: a black shape on one side and a red one on the other side. A white cardboard cut in the middle and decorated on both sides will be the scene of the story which every child will be playing with at home.