Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


1998 Picture Books
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Tomi Ungerer
Publisher: Roberts Rinehart
ISBN: 1-57098-161-2
Hardcover Price: $17.95
Surprise! Not only is this the first Tomi Ungerer work for children in 25 years, but it is an uncharacteristically flat and cheerless tale: a two-generation saga about a decidedly bourgeois cat couple, the Kralls, and their incredible offspring, a pug dog named Flix. The reader/viewer follows the mournful-faced pup from baptism and a mostly friendless childhood, (he speaks cat, but with a dog accent) on through his education and eventual marriage to a poodle. When, unexpectedly, Flix launches his own political party—the CDU (Cats and Dogs United), he becomes Lord Mayor of both Cattown and Dog City.

But what does it all mean? Certainly Ungerer, an Alsatian by birth and now a resident of Ireland, has first-hand knowledge of the corrosive effects of deep-rooted enmity. But one wonders how many children will last the course of this slow-paced, earnest text that urges us to love one another and live in harmony. Happily, Ungerer’s full-color drawings remain as droll and biting as ever. (Note: Ungerer was co-recipient this year of the International Hans Christian Andersen Medal, awarded for the body of his work for children which Parents' Choice also honors.)

Selma G. Lanes   ©1998 Parents' Choice

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