The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer


Just to get this started, let’s do a book that is read here in video form so everyone can see it:

My discussion with my friend about this book was super interesting. I wonder if I can convince him to come on here so we can recap/continue…


I couldn’t help it, I know I was supposed to be diverted by the art and voice, but all I could think was: is this a metaphor for how communism should have gone but didn’t?! I absolutely love this author/illustrator. I love that he was born and worked at a time when children were not the dominant subspecies of human that they are now, and that he seems to understand them so essentially, the infinite ways in which they’ll accept any reality put before them, and then, of course, love it. We own Crictor, another by Ungerer, and every time I read it, I think: a man-eating snake was never so welcome in my home.


Hahaha, It’s hard not to see the socialist overtones to the story! It’s funny, cause that’s where my conversation with my friend started. He was saying that he was bummed that rich people always had to be the villains…actually I can quote him cause we were on Slack when we had this convo: “We teach these lessons to kids this way, and I think it does people a disservice. In china, for example, it’s very much the opposite. Perhaps that highlights some of the different issues they face…We should be encouraging entrepreneurship and things of that sort more in my mind. Bring the rich folks in, have some synergistic rubber meets the road type of collaboration to construct a castle.”

But this is where it got interesting, cause what he was saying really pushed me to clarify what I was saying, which ultimately boiled down to: “How you care for others is more important than what you acquire or your own fear for safety through objects.” Which is basically where both of us got intrigued cause we could both really relate to that. And it made me realize that the reason I cry every time I read that one page where they start caring for the children is that the robbers are just doing what they do. They don’t really know why, they just do it.

And then they change.

And that’s what I find so powerful about it.


And that! What a great insight that is!