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The Three Robbers Hardcover – March 21, 2009
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
From Publishers Weekly
"One bitter, black night," three ferocious highwaymen meet their match in a spunky orphan named Tiffany; Ungerer's bold, fanciful artwork, rendered primarily in black and deep blue tones, enliven this cautionary tale of foul deeds transmogrified. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Delightful and artistically nourishing." --The New York Times Book Review, December 21, 2008
"Ungerer is a wizard at whittling a story down to its smoothest, most streamlined essence, as shown in this reissued tale of a trio of ruthless highwaymen ... This master class in storytelling should be required reading not just for children, but current children's-book authors." --Cookie Magazine, November 2008
"Though he has never been much out of it, the spotlight seems to be shining particularly brightly right now on Mr. Ungerer ... Both Mr. Ungerer's approach and his visual style -- inspired by Saul Steinberg, with elements of George Grosz and Paul Klee -- seemed to have seeped into the DNA of children s literature." --The New York Times, July 27, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The tale concerns itself with the doings of three fierce black-clad robbers. Outfitted with a blunderbuss, a pepper-blower, and a huge red axe, the three had a pretty good gig going. One robber would stop carriage horses with his pepper spray, another would stop the carriage completely by destroying the wheels with an axe, and the third would rob the passengers by holding them up with his blunderbuss. Honestly? I just like writing the word blunderbuss. That's a great word. Anyway, one day the men stop a carriage containing a small orphan on her way to live with a "wicked aunt". They rescue her and take her home to live with them. When the child asks them what they intend to do with all of their money, the men are stumped. Their solution is round up all the, "lost, unhappy, and abandoned children" they can find, buy a castle, and move in with all the children. In the end the kids grow up and build three tall high-roofed towers in honor of their foster fathers, the three robbers. The end.
I don't really know why I love this tale as much as I do. Partly I think it has to do with the illustrations. The robbers are black on blue, their white eyes floating in front of invisible blue faces. Their weapons, colorfully displayed against a sharp black background, are a beautiful mixture of oranges, blues, and swirling reds. Cheery and intense. After they move in with the children, however, the black and blue palette changes completely and suddenly it's all bright reds (as the children are wearing) and deep spring greens. Accompanying this adept change of pace is Ungerer's text. The book never really explains the robbers' change of heart. One suspects they robbed without entirely knowing why they did so. And isn't that the case of most rich robbers? It is apparent that their care for the children is true and tender. I was especially attached to the shot of the once malevolent robber cradling the sleepy orphan girl in his warm cape as he took her home to stay.
The tale has a moral that changes with every reading. Suffice to say, for me this book was about the human heart. Sometimes it takes very little to change behaviors that once seemed so cold and logical. Any picture book that can present such an interpretation deserves a close reading. "The Three Robbers" fits that bill nicely.
The moral is grey, like the real world. It gets the child thinking about how people are not all good or all bad. Everyone's got a little bit of both in them.
Storyline is that some bad robbers' hearts are melted by a kid and they turn their stolen cash into good.
One night the robbers make a mistake. Instead of stopping a carriage full of rich people with money or rich jewelry, they `stopped a carriage that had but one passenger, an orphan named Tiffany.' Well Tiffany was delighted, and since the robbers didn't know what else to do they took her home to their hide-out where she promptly turned their world upside down by asking them what they planned to do with their wealth.
Realizing that they were doing nothing with their horded wealth, and that this was really a waste, they decide to buy a castle and bring to it all the `lost, unhappy, and abandoned children they could find.' These children grow up and marry, but as a testament to their benefactors build three towers.
I realize that this summary doesn't make this book sound all that great, but I like it. Also this summary seems to completely conflict with the editorial review. The editorial review is not really one for this book. If you look closely it is really a review for `Crictor; Moon Man'. It only gives a passing mention to `The Three Robbers' at the very bottom. The illustrations are bold and more often than not the page is black and the writing white. The story is told in a style that endears the book to me.
The story is on the dark side, though, so if you have a child who's particularly sensitive, this might not be the right book for him/her.