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Fog Island

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  586 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In this imaginative tale from master storyteller Tomi Ungerer, two young siblings find themselves cast away on mysterious Fog Island. No one has ever returned from the island’s murky shores, but when the children begin to explore, they discover things are not quite as they expected.

Ungerer’s captivating drawings evoke the eerie beauty and magic surrounding this timeless ad
Hardcover, 46 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Phaidon Press (first published April 16th 2012)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  586 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
Parts of this I really liked, parts I didn't. The illustrations are largely good, nice colours and atmospheric but the faces and some other elements let them down. Some pages looked like a first attempt that needed refining, some where quite good. The story was mostly good, quite inventive, not sure about the was-it-a-dream-or-wasn't-it ? ending.
Jennifer B.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely and affectionate story.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tomi Ungerer Fans / Readers Looking for Original Fairy-Tales
Set on Ireland's rocky west coast, this recent picture-book from Tomi Ungerer is the story of siblings Finn and Cara, the children of a local fisherman and boat-builder who get blown off course while out in their currach, and land on the mysterious and much feared Fog Island. Here they meet the Fog Man, an ancient islander who creates the fog in his enormous, well-like boiler, and who gives the children shelter for the night. Awakening the next day, the children discover themselves in an old rui ...more
A love song of sorts to Ireland, set at a time not too long in the past where poverty was a commonality and people's reliance on the land was central to their lives. Here we follow the lives of Finn and Cara and their parents who lived by the Irish sea. Happy with their lot and all equally happy to assist with the running of their farm, all changes when the children are gifted a rowboat (a curragh) and find themselves adrift and dangerously trapped on the one place the local people avoid: Fog Is ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Weird and not in a good way. Unbelievable that the children weren't the least bit afraid of Fog Island after their father's warning. What was the point of it?
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Left me cold... just found it insipid, with a trope of finding the backstage magic that's been done to death.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I sense a larger, though still focused, story could grow from this; it’s ripe for an animated embellishment by a group like Cartoon Saloon (the folks behind “The Secret of Kells” and “Song of the Sea.”)

But on its own, it’s still a lovely, somewhat chilly, example of the mysterious Irish fairy tale, one of my favorite genres.
Ellie Labbett
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A story that felt somewhere between myth and folk tale, seeming to be set in the past but new enough to still seem familiar. We follow the two siblings Finn and Cara, as they get pulled into Fog Island, after warnings of the dangers that the island holds. What they discover within the island is certainly surprising, and both the reader and the characters are left with an uncertainty of what was actually real.

Whilst I did really enjoy the plot, I think that Ungerer has created a story that left
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Is it ever too early to give your young'n the willies? (Quit nodding your heads, "..and then the bow breaks.." come on give me a break!) This author/illustrator is held in high reguard and once you flip through this atmospheric storybook you'll know why. Brother and sister Finn and Cara live in the world of magical Ireland. They live a simple life off the sea. The children are warned about the doomed island which of course makes them want to explore. Duh! skeletons, spooky old men and mysteries ...more
Holly Mueller
I liked the mood/tone of this strange story about two children who venture out to Fog Island in spite of their father's warning. There they meet the wizard-like Fog Man. The illustrations capture the loneliness and spookiness of the journey to the island. It creates a legend/ghost story type feeling. I also liked the mystery of whether or not it was real when the kids wake up in the midst of ruins instead of the Fog Man's castle. However, the ending was bizarre and kind of gross.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Always expect to be surprised by a picture book by Ungerer. The Three Robbers is one of our favorites in our house and we’ve also loved the short film of the book and quote lines and sing the song from it years later. This new book from Ungerer has some of the feel of that earlier title, with fog and darkness and danger. It is the story of Finn and Cara who lived by the sea. Their father built them a small boat, a curragh, and warned them to only use it in the bay and never go near Fog Island be ...more
KayeC Jones
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another winner by Ungerer.

He did this book with pastels and it looks fantastic! You can almost feel the fog as you read it. Very well done. I love the extremely hairy "wizened old man" with the candle on his head. Very cute.

And as for the story, Ungerer fails to disappoint. I love that it introduces the poor family but states that they were happy together. The boy and girl set off exploring and get lost eventually finding Fog Island, a place with an evil reputation.

I don't want to spoil the stor
Ms. B
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, 2013
If you are looking for a picture book about Ireland, this is the book for you.
It was okay, there just wasn't much to it.

The art wasn't quite to my taste, but I can see how it might grab others. It was imaginative and was at its best when focused on settings and environments, but I really didn't like the characters faces at all. A lot of it seemed rough in a "not quite finished" way.

The story was very brief - absolute bare bones - and not very interesting. There were no real stakes at all. Fog Island is built up to be such a dangerous forsaken place, but in this build up
There is certainly something spooky about this story, the illustrations are thick and dark and capture a feeling almost of isolation and loneliness. The story follows two young children who warned by their father to stay away from 'fog island' end up there anyway having gotten lost in the fog. There they meet the Fog Man who stereotypes a Merlin-esque type wizard. Perhaps its my own feelings of mistrust in strangers which we all know most children don't have but I didn't think he was going to ke ...more
Charlotte & Alexei
There is certainly something spooky about this story, the illustrations are thick and dark and capture a feeling almost of isolation and loneliness. The story follows two young children who warned by their father to stay away from 'fog island' end up there anyway having gotten lost in the fog. There they meet the Fog Man who stereotypes a Merlin-esque type wizard. Perhaps its my own feelings of mistrust in strangers which we all know most children don't have but I didn't think he was going to ke ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An enchanting story set in Ireland, where Finn and Cara find themselves getting dangerously lost at sea and stuck at the dreaded Fog Island. This book reminds us of the poverty that people faced in Ireland during these times, and the illustrations were highly effective in demonstrating this. Furthermore, there is an element of mystery at the end; most folk did not believe the children when they insisted on seeing the Fog Man, therefore it is left to the reader to decide the truth. Interestingly, ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok

I don't understand the appeal of this book. The writing is weak, the plot has been done over and over, and the illustrations are creepy. The illustrations and the text don't even match at times, and the story's flow is all wacky.

I would recommend Tomi Ungerer's Moon Man and The Three Robbers instead.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
A little bit strange. A couple of Irish kids get lost in the fog and arrive to the exact same island their parents told them to about. They meet an old guy, who creates fog at will and appears to be a bit creepy but turns out to be nice and just looks after them. Was it a dream or did they really meet the fog master?

The little one got a bit scared, but in the enjoyable way.
An adventurous story that feels more like a folk tale than a traditional fictional story. Ideal for sharing with a larger audience, the various cliff hangers would be useful for pausing the story and having discussions about what has happened so far.
Lynn  Davidson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a village by the sea, Finn and Cara lived with their parents. They were warned to never go to Fog Island which was believed to be an evil place. One foggy day the current pulled the children out in their boat and they had a strange experience. Wonderful illustrations.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a strange tale that seems quite old, like one that had been published in the 70s, but was actually published in the last decade.

I like the creepy atmospheric nature of the illustrations, but the story wasn't all that engaging.

It's a fast, but ultimately forgettable read.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rowan was into it until about halfway, then got too fussy and tired to stay interested. But we made it to the end and I was charmed. Would read with him again. Sleep well, kids. May the Fog Man bless you and keep you.
Justin Bloch
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My five year old daughter absolutely adored this book. She loves books that are a little spooky, and the art and mystery in this one really sparked her imagination.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story. Wasn’t overly spooky.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stunningly gorgeous book about a family in Ireland and the experience the children have.
Lots of Irish flavour to this one.
Ronnie Hobbs
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book, fantasy
Good story line involving two siblings on a mysterious island.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The art in this book is very lovely— it looks like more detailed, softened illustrations by Tomie dePaola.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Definitely a scary story. Great spooky illustrations. The creepy old man may be a bit too much in this day and age.
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
From The New York Times review, by Leonard S. Marcus.

In "Fog Island" the old high jinks have largely given way to an urge to dive into mythic waters and tell a fateful tale inspired by Ungerer’s years living along the Irish coast. For once, the storm in question is a real storm, and a young brother and sister are caught in it in their fogbound boat at sea. The next thing they know, the brave but powerless children are washed ashore on an island they have been warned not to visit: Fog Island.

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Jean-Thomas "Tomi" Ungerer was a French illustrator best known for his erotic and political illustrations as well as children's books.

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