Sunday, August 31, 2008

"The Three Robbers"

The French classic The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer is one of the best children's books I've ever read. It's the story of three highwaymen who rob carriages by night. They "terrified everyone. Women fainted. Brave men ran. Dogs fled."

Like all the best fairy tales, The Three Robbers is scary and a little politically incorrect. But this one comes to an unexpected happy end. One "bitter black night," the Robbers stopped a carriage that had only one passenger, an orphan girl named Tiffany, who was on her way to live with a "wicked aunt." "Since there was no treasure [to steal] but Tiffany," they carried her away to their hideout. In the morning, though, she asked them one simple question that changed everything.

Originally written in French, The Three Robbers has been out of print in English for years, but a new edition is coming out this year. Or, you may be able to find an older copy at your public library, like I did. I highly recommend it.

It was also made into an animated short in 1972. All the narration is straight out of the book. Enjoy.

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