Tomi Ungerer…creator of absurd and delicious picture books and more…

I found this poster many years ago in a gallery in NYC.

I love it.

Now faded and wrinkly…it hangs in my studio.

Always has. Always will.


The Beast and Monsiur Racine is on top of my pile of Tomi’s books.

When I was a studying with Sendak in the mid-70’s, Maurice introduced me to Tomi’s work .

This book is dedicated to Maurice and designed by Jane Byers Bierhorst (amazing book designer who taught with Maurice). 

This is the book that made me want to make picture books. 

Tomi was a master of the form. It is truly a book that can be read again and again….while always discovering something new in the art. Joyful and absurd. The crowd scenes are wild and wonderful.


From my Tomi library...

It’s because of  Tomi, Maurice and Jane that I discovered my passion for this process of creating picture books.  

It is a joy spending time with Tomi’s work. All of it. No matter how absurd…and because it is so…

Tomi’s quote is over my drawing table: “ Far out isn’t far enough”.

I imagine Tomi, Maurice and Jane…together…somewhere…”Outside Over There”…filling the “empty space” with something wonderful.

You are missed…thank you…tcp

Here is a link to Tomi’s official website:


A link to Tomi’s obituary in the New York Times:

The documentary: Far Out Isn’t Far Enough, The Tomi Ungerer (2012) is fabulous…but NOT for children!

However, the animated version of The Three Robbers IS for kids and it’s great!


Tomi Ungerer…Far out isn’t far enough…and Elephant’s Story.

Elephant and Gracie meet Tomi Ungerer

Elephant and Gracie meet Tomi Ungerer

It was my introduction to Ungerer’s work by Sendak…

that lit the spark…
that kindled the fire…
that changed my course…
and made me see…
a life and career that I could build.

Thirty years later…another spark from Ungerer became a book. (Link to The Story of ELEPHANT’S STORY below)

ELEPHANT'S STORY by Tracey Campbell Pearson published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux Fall 2013

ELEPHANT’S STORY by Tracey Campbell Pearson
published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux Fall 2013

Tomi is back…
in film…
in an e-mail from Brad…
in response to questions…
I answered for a blog….. 

Brad thought…with my connections to Sendak and Ungerer…I might be interested in his film: FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY


I saw it as soon as it was released. After reading about the film in the NYTimes last Spring….I planned my trip to Chicago for ALA around it’s screening at the GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER last June.

Tomi Film Ticket stub

Tomi Film Ticket stub

Loved it.

I’m thrilled to know that I can now download it on iTunes and/or see it on Netflix.

Now I can see it again….and again…
Thank you, Brad!!!…for making such a wonderful film…for capturing Tomi (and Maurice) and sharing them with the rest of us.

Links below…explore…enjoy…tcp

note that this is not a film for young children…but do read them Tomi’s books…and if you can find the early animations from Weston Woods…The Three Robbers is one of our favorites…delicious!

ps.…I found the ticket stub while I was cleaning my studio…just after I responded to Brad’s e-mail…hmmmm…

The Elephant in the Room: 3 questions with Tracey Campbell Pearson