Tomi Ungerer's Blog

November 17, 2017

This week the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts celebrates its fifteenth anniversary, and launches a new exhibition- Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration. The exhibition features an original drawing by Tomi, created during a New York Public Library TV show called “It’s Fun to Read”.  The show ran during the mid to late 1960s on WNYC-TV, New York’s public access television station.

Tomi Ungerer Eric Carle museum

Tomi’s drawing in the Eric Carle museum’s 15th anniversary show

The drawing, which was donated to the museum by Katherine Lutz Coppock in 2009, is a piece of Tomi’s New York history! He arrived to the city in 1956, and spent 16 years there working on his now iconic advertising campaigns, posters, and of course his children’s books. In an exclusive essay for Phaidon, Tomi wrote that he “had fallen in love with New York City. It was a dream come true, oneirically peopled with generous, open-minded folk. I felt welcome everywhere. To this day, I can feel its pent-up energy, the tingling excitement of the unexpected, the farfetched within reach.”

Tomi Ungerer New York

Tomi in his New York studio in the 1960s.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has long been a supporter of Tomi’s work, and even features in a scene of the 2012 documentary, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story. Opened by the illustrator Eric Carle and his late wife Barbara Carle in 2002, the museum is the only full-scale one of its kind in the United States. It honours picture books and illustration as an art form, and draws an audience of art lovers young and old. We wish the museum a very happy fifteenth birthday, long may it stand!

Here is some more information on the anniversary show from the museum’s press release:

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Presents Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration

In honor of its anniversary, the Museum will present highlights from its holdings in the exhibition Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration, on view November 19, 2017 through April 1, 2018.

The exhibition features 96 artworks representing a range of time periods and media, from Harry Bingham Neilson’s 1898 pen-and-ink drawing for Life’s Book of Animals to Ekua Holmes’s 2015 paper collage for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Iconic picture-book characters Peter Rabbit, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eloise, and Shrek will delight guests young and old. Artists represented in the exhibition include Don Freeman, Trina Schart Hyman, Dorothy Lathrop, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, David Macaulay, James Marshall, Petra Mathers, Wendell Minor, Jerry Pinkney, Uri Shulevitz, William Steig, Simms Taback, Tony DiTerlizzi, Chris Van Allsburg, Mo Willems, Garth Williams, Paul O. Zelinsky, and Lisbeth Zwerger, among others.

“I am honored to care for this collection, to preserve the legacies of artists and their contributions to children’s literature,” said Chief Curator Ellen Keiter. “My goal with the exhibition is to be inclusive. There are no thematic categories or chronologies to follow. It is an eclectic presentation with a focus on acquisitions of the last five years.”

In addition to the variety of artwork, a selection of three-dimensional objects are also on view. A display of dummy books (handmade mock-ups of picture books) provides insight into the artistic process. As Keiter notes, “It’s fascinating to study an artist’s initial concepts for a picture book and see how the story and images developed and changed. Simms Taback’s dummy for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is a near replica of the published book, but at a quarter of its size. Barbara McClintock’s dummy for Heartaches of a French Cat begins as detailed drawings, but becomes sketchier as the story progresses.” Reproductions of the original dummy books are available in the gallery for guests to handle and read.

A “Treasure Tower” in the center of the exhibition showcases some unique objects from the collection. These include Antonio Frasconi’s hand-carved printing blocks, Arnold Lobel’s sketchbook, Eric Carle’s hard hat from the Museum’s ground-breaking, and the inscribed pocket watch that Margaret Wise Brown presented to Leonard Weisgard when he won the Caldecott Medal for The Little Island. A selection of artist doodles—drawn over 15 years of artist visits, workshops, and book signings—are on view in the auditorium hallway.

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Published on November 17, 2017 13:27

As we announced in an earlier post, we are looking forward to launching an updated website on Tomi’s birthday later this month. As part of the updated site, we’d like to include a list of the best bookshops worldwide that sell Tomi’s books. We especially want to hear about small, independent bookshops that are passionate about spreading his work. If you are bookseller that sells Tomi’s books, or if you have a favourite local bookshop that stocks them, we would love to hear from you! Please send your recommendations to with “Bookshops” in the subject line. Thank you!


Appel à toutes les librairies

Comme nous l’avons annoncé dans notre précédent article, nous sommes impatients de lancer un site Web pour l’anniversaire de Tomi, le 28 novembre. Nous aimerions y inclure une liste des meilleures librairies du monde entier qui vendent les livres de Tomi. Nous nous adressons surtout aux petits libraires indépendants, passionnés par la diffusion de son travail. Si vous travaillez dans une librairie qui vend des livres de Tomi, ou si vous en connaissez une, nous aimerions avoir de vos nouvelles! Merci d’envoyer vos recommandations à avec “Bookshops” comme mot-clé.


An alle Buchhandlungen

In einem früheren Post haben wir den Launch der aktualisierten Homepage zu Tomis Geburtstag am Monatsende angekündigt. Auf dieser upgedateten Website möchten wir die besten Buchhandlungen weltweit auflisten, die Tomis Bücher verkaufen. Speziell richten wir uns da an kleine, unabhängige Buchhandlungen, die mit Leidenschaft seine Werke verbreiten. Falls Sie in einer Buchhandlung arbeiten, die Tomis Bücher anbietet, oder einen lokalen Geheimtipp haben, der die Bücher auf Lager hat, würden wir uns freuen, von Ihnen zu hören! Bitte senden Sie uns Ihre Empfehlungen mit dem Betreff „Bookshops“ an Herzlichen Dank!





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Published on November 17, 2017 07:35

November 8, 2017

This week in Munich, Tomi Ungerer was awarded the coveted Bayerischer Buchpreis. The prize is sponsored by the state of Bavaria, and was presented by Ilse Eigner, Minister for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology.  Tomi debuted a new pair of disco shoes with flashing soles for the ceremony! In his own words,  it took him light years to get here…

Here are a selection of photos from the prizegiving. (All photos © Aria Ungerer).

Tomi Ungerer Bayerischer Buchpreis

Tomi is presented with the award by Ilse Aigner (Staatsministerin für Wirtschaft und Medien, Energie und Technologie).

Tomi Ungerer Bayerischer Buchpreis

L-R, Ruth Geiger (Diogenes Verlag), Tomi and Dr. Klaus Beckshulte.

Tomi adjusts his disco shoes.

Tomi Ungerer, Bayerischer Buchpreis

Tomi giving a speech at the ceremony.

Tomi Ungerer Bayerischer Buchpreis

Tomi with Dr. Klaus Beckshulte.

L-R, Michael Then, Knut Cordsen, Tomi Ungerer, Franzobel, Andreas Reckwitz, Thea Dorn, Svenja Flaßpöhler, Ilse Aigner.

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Published on November 08, 2017 10:11

November 6, 2017

Tomi Ungerer birthday

Tomi will be 86 later this month!

French and German below.

We have some very exciting news to share! On the 28th of November, Tomi’s 86th birthday, we will be launching an updated website, which will feature more of Tomi’s work, a new regular blog series, and much more. We want to celebrate by inviting Tomi’s fans, young and old, to wish him a happy birthday! We would love to receive your handwritten messages, drawings and photos, which we will display on the new website when it is launched. We want this to be an international celebration, a chance for fans around the world to share what Tomi’s work means to all of us.

To be featured on the website, please take a photo of your card or drawing and send it to, with the subject line “Happy Birthday Tomi”, by Friday the 24th of November.

Drawings of Tomi’s book characters by children age 0-101 are encouraged!

Love, Team Tomi.


Nous avons des nouvelles très excitantes à partager! Le 28 novembre, à l’occasion du 86ème anniversaire de Tomi, nous lancerons un site web mis à jour, qui présentera des œuvres de Tomi supplémentaires, une nouvelle série de blogs réguliers, et bien plus encore.

Nous voulons fêter Tomi en invitant les fans de Tomi, jeunes et moins jeunes, à lui souhaiter un joyeux anniversaire!

Merci de nous envoyer vos messages, manuscrits, dessins et photos, que nous afficherons sur le nouveau site Web lors de son lancement.

Nous aimerions que ce soit une célébration internationale, une occasion pour les fans du monde entier de partager ce que le travail de Tomi signifie pour nous tous.

Envoyez un message d’anniversaire à Tomi en prenant une photo de votre carte ou dessin et envoyez-la à (avec la ligne d’objet «Happy Birthday Tomi»), avant le vendredi 24 novembre, pour qu’elle apparaisse sur le site.

A l’attention des enfants de 0 à 101 ans : les dessins des personnages du livres de Tomi sont les bienvenus!!!


L’équipe Tomi


Wir haben eine gute Nachricht für euch – am 28. November (auch der 86 Geburtstag Tomis) werden wir unsere aktualisierte Website einführen! Die neue Website wird mehr von Tomis Arbeit, eine neue Blog-Serie und viel, viel mehr enthalten. Damit wir Tomis Geburtstag richtig feiern können, wollen wir alle Tomis Fans (sowohl jung und alt) einladen, um Tomi zum Geburtstag gratulieren! Wir freuen uns auf eure handschriftliche Notizen, Zeichnungen und Fotos, die wir auf der Website anzeigen werden.  Wir wollen eine internationale Feier veranstalten, eine Chance für Fans auf der ganzen Welt zu teilen, genau was Tomis Arbeit bedeutet.

Um eure Arbeit auf der Website zu sehen, bitte nehmt ihr ein Foto von euren Geburtstagskarten oder Zeichnung, und sendet ihr die per E-Mail (bis spätestens Freitag den 24 November) an Sophie, mit der Betreffzeile „Happy Birthday Tomi“.

Wir fördern besonders Zeichnungen von Tomis Buchfiguren von Kindern im Altern von 1-101!

Liebe Gruße, Team Tomi

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Published on November 06, 2017 08:28 • 5 views

October 28, 2017

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Tomi Ungerer, Bläck Fööss poster

Tomi Ungerer, Bläck Fööss, poster for a German music group, circa 1975. Musée Tomi Ungerer collection, © Tomi Ungerer


English provided below. 

« André François/Tomi Ungerer.

La liberté du trait »

27 octobre 2017-11 mars 2018

Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration

André Farkas dit André François (1915-2005), auteur de livres pour enfants, affichiste, dessinateur d’humour et de satire, est un artiste graphique français que Tomi Ungerer considère comme l’un des plus grands de son époque. Cet « inventeur infatigable de nouvelles espèces… », selon la formule de la revue Graphis, a témoigné tout au long de sa vie d’une intense créativité. La France lui a rendu hommage dans plusieurs rétrospectives : à la Bibliothèque Forney, au Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris et au Centre Georges Pompidou, ainsi qu’à la médiathèque André François de Margny-les-Compiègne. Le Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration a de son côté acquis une exceptionnelle collection d’une centaine de ses œuvres, dessins originaux et affiches. A l’occasion du dixième anniversaire du musée, elle est présentée dans son intégralité pour la première fois au public.

Si Robert Delpire a souligné à juste titre la « variété des styles » qui caractérise l’œuvre d’André François, l’artiste lui-même qualifiait d’éclectiques les matériaux qu’il utilisait. Un même esprit, celui de la Mitteleuropa dont l’artiste était originaire, imprègne pourtant les différents registres graphiques qui caractérisent son œuvre. Elève du célèbre affichiste A.M. Cassandre, qui a marqué le style de ses premières années, il a dessiné près de 250 affiches. Il a travaillé sans distinction pour des commanditaires aussi différents que l’Unicef, Le Nouvel Observateur, un salon de design, des maisons d’éditions ou des rencontres de graphisme. Il a publié des illustrations dans Cosmopress, Graphis, Lilliput, Punch, La Tribune des Nations, The New Yorker, pour lequel il a réalisé 59 couvertures entre 1963 et 1991, ou encore Vogue. Ses dessins satiriques et d’humour ont été publiés dans des recueils comme The Tattooed Sailor ou The Half Naked Knight. Dans chacune de ses expressions, l’illustrateur se caractérise par un puissant dynamisme graphique et une grande inventivité graphique.

Tomi Ungerer road safety poster

Tomi Ungerer, for an advertising campaign for road safety, circa 1979. Musée Tomi Ungerer collection, © Tomi Ungerer

Mises en regard avec les œuvres d’André François, celles de Tomi Ungerer révèlent que ces deux artistes partagent non seulement la liberté du trait mais également des thématiques parmi lesquelles figurent le temps et la mort, les métamorphoses, l’absurde.

Horaires : du lundi au dimanche de 10h à 18h Fermé le mardi

Tarifs : 6,5 euros / 3,5 euros (réduit)

Lieu : Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration, 2, av. de la Marseillaise / tél. 03 68 98 51 53 /

Tomi Ungerer Warteraum

Tomi Ungerer, original sketchbook drawing for Warteraum, 1985. Musée Tomi Ungerer collection, © Tomi Ungerer


“André François/Tomi Ungerer:

Freedom of Line”

27th October 2017-11 March 2018

Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration

André Farkas, known as André François (1915-2005), is a French graphic artist whom Tomi Ungerer considers as one of the greatest of his time. He was an author of children’s books, poster artist, and cartoonist of humor and satire, who exhibited intense creativity throughout his life. France paid tribute to him in several retrospectives: at the Forney Library, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and the Center Georges Pompidou, as well as the media library André François Margny-les-Compiègne. The Tomi Ungerer Museum – International Illustration Center has acquired an exceptional collection of some one hundred of his works, original drawings and posters. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the museum, it is presented in its entirety for the first time to the public.

Robert Delpire rightly pointed out the “variety of styles” that characterises the work of André François, and the artist himself described the materials he used as “eclectic”. However, all of his work is permeated by the spirit of his native Mitteleuropa. A student of the famous poster artist A. M. Cassandre, who marked the style of his early years, André François created nearly 250 posters. He worked for clients as diverse as Unicef and Le Nouvel Observateur. He published illustrations in Cosmopress, Graphis, Lilliput, Punch, The Tribune des Nations, and The New Yorker, for which he made 59 covers between 1963 and 1991.  In all of his mediums, the illustrator is characterised by a powerful dynamism and a great graphic inventiveness.

Exhibiting the work of André François alongside that of Tomi Ungerer illustrates the two artists’ similarities; they share a freedom of line in their illustration style, and common themes of time and death, metamorphoses, and the absurd.

Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Rates: €6.50 / €3.50 (concession)

Location: Tomi Ungerer Museum – International Center for Illustration, 2, av. de la Marseillaise, Strasbourg


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Published on October 28, 2017 10:14 • 1 view

October 27, 2017

Our little Adelaide is a star! La cabane à histoires is a new children’s TV show produced by Dandelooo in France. In the show, children hide away in cabin in the trees to read classic books, whose illustrations come alive as beautiful animations. One episode saw the kids reading Tomi’s Adelaide, the story of an ambitious flying kangaroo.

The show has been nominated for a International Emmy in the Kids Preschool category for 2018. We knew Adelaide’s dream of greatness would come true!

Here you can watch a clip of the show, and see Adelaide in full flight:

Arte Editions will release a DVD of La cabane à histoires in early 2018, which will include Adelaide’s episode.

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Published on October 27, 2017 10:47

Our little Adelaide is a star! La cabane à histoires is a new children’s TV show produced by Dandelooo in France. In the show, children hide away in cabin in the trees to read classic books, whose illustrations come alive as beautiful animations. One episode saw the kids reading Tomi’s Adelaide, the story of an ambitious flying kangaroo.

The show has been nominated for a International Emmy in the Kids Preschool category for 2018. We knew Adelaide’s dream of greatness would come true!

Here you can watch a clip of the show, and see Adelaide in full flight:

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Published on October 27, 2017 10:47 • 1 view

October 23, 2017

This weekend Tomi was honoured by The Professional Association of Illustrators of Catalonia (APIC), with their L’Il·lustrad’Or (Golden Illustrator) prize. The prize is awarded on an international level “to an illustrator whose professional career, we consider, has made an important contribution to graphic creativity”.  Moltes gràcies, APIC!

The ceremony took place in Barcelona, and samples of Tomi’s illustrative and graphic work were shown. As Tomi could not attend the event himself, he wrote this touching thank you speech, about what it means to him for his work to be acknowledged. Here is the transcript of the handwritten speech which you can see below:

“At the age of 86, I realize that even with 70 years of apprenticeship, I still find no satisfaction in my work. I just finished a new book for children and adults, it has been greeted with enthusiasm by my publisher, yet, doubt already sets in. Once printed, I shall discard it like all the other ones; flawed, misbegotten children, all.

I shouldn’t complain. Showered with prizes, with a museum sheltering my work, over 140 books on record – I still struggle with my nagging insecurity. Success has never reassured me.

For many I am known as a children’s book author. I conceived these books for the child in me, a little rascal indeed. Haunted with a restless imagination, I need the challenge of new styles and techniques.

This frustrating attitude of downgrading myself is fuel for my searching drive. Oh yes, I am enthusiastic once immersed in a project, possessed with sparkling despair, giggling at my own ideas. Then, once done, my vanity deflates and I start another book as if it was the first one.

I am happy and honoured to accept this prize. With my eternal insecurity it is reassuring, comforting to be acknowledged. To know that others appreciated my work is a stimulant for me, to keep on going, trying out new directions in swallowing labyrinths.”

Tomi Ungerer awards

Tomi Ungerer awards




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Published on October 23, 2017 10:59 • 7 views

October 16, 2017

Tomi Ungerer exhibition  Tomi Ungerer exhibition

English below. Exhibition photos by L. Guyot. 

Exposition Tomi Ungerer au Bienalle des Illustrateurs Moulins, 28 septembre 2017 – 3 janvier 2018, Musée de l’Illustration Jeunesse 

Une centaine d’images puisées dans le fonds des 11000 œuvres du Musée Ungerer de Strasbourg, donnent à voir l’étendue du talent du maître.

On y retrouve des illustrations originales de ses nombreux, très nombreux livres pour enfants, devenus des classiques du genre. Et à travers affiches et dessins de presse on (re)découvre Ungerer, l’artiste universel, fin observateur de notre monde, dessinateur satirique, chroniqueur de presse, l’humaniste engagé dont l’œuvre sonne comme un manifeste contre toutes les guerres et toutes les inégalités.

Tomi Ungerer exhibition

Cliquer pour plus de détails.

Tomi Ungerer exhibition running from the 28th of September 2017 to the 3rd of January 2018, as part of Bienalle des illustrateurs Moulins, at Musée de l’Illustration Jeunesse

This exhibition showcases the range and diversity of Tomi’s illustration talent, with a hundred images taken from the collection of the Tomi Ungerer museum in Strasbourg. Among the exhibits are original illustrations from some of his many children’s books, which have since become classics of the genre. Through posters and press extracts we discover more sides to the artist; an observer of our world, satirical cartoonist, press columnist, and a committed humanist whose work reads as a manifesto against all wars and all inequalities.

Tomi Ungerer exhibition

Click here for exhibition details.


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Published on October 16, 2017 10:06 • 4 views

August 31, 2017

Tomi Ungerer Political Poster

Tomi Ungerer’s alternative election poster in Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin

This September saw a parliamentary election in Germany, to elect new members of the Bundestag. It was a significant event not just for Germany but for the democracy of wider Europe.  Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, the partner magazine of Germany’s most widely read daily newspaper, asked a series of well-known artists to provide “alternative election posters” for their pages in the run up to the elections.

As a reaction to the cult of personality that surrounds political leaders in the media, these posters were to be based not on political personas but on political ideas. Artists were asked to deal with topics or ideas related to democracy and to society itself.  Tomi Ungerer’s poster shows the statue of liberty behind a wall. She has her hand cut off, the hand that was holding the torch that would lead people to the land of opportunity.  Famously, while living in the U.S.A. in the 1960s, Tomi created a series of gut-punching posters to express his disgust with the Vietnam war and racial segregation. This newest poster tells us the artist is still as concerned as ever that his sometime adopted home of the U.S.A. should be a place of welcome for all people.

-Sophie Meehan




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Published on August 31, 2017 10:10 • 4 views

Tomi Ungerer's Blog

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