All you need to know about Nonstop
We're proud to publish world-famous children’s author Tomi Ungerer's final book this season. It is, without doubt, a masterpiece
You don’t have to be young to write great children’s literature. Right up until his death in February 2019 at the age of 87, the French-born artist, illustrator and author Tomi Ungerer was creating beautiful conceived, sharply plotted, award-winning books for young readers, that covered everything from space travel to the holocaust, and featured an endless charming array of characters, including teddy bears, talking hats, an industrious family of pigs, and many brave and charming children.
His 1960s books, Moon Man and The Three Robbers, were both adapted into films; his more recent work, Fog Island, was singled out as one of The New York Times' Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2013; and he won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1998 for his life-long literary contribution.
However, in many ways, he saved the best until last. Phaidon is proud to posthumously publish Ungerer’s final story, and it is, without a doubt, a future classic. Entitled Nonstop, the book tells the story of the young protagonist Vasco, who has to survive in a time where Earth is devastated and abandoned; everyone else has escaped to the moon.
Aimlessly wandering the empty streets, with only his shadow for company, Vasco soon discovers that his ever-changing, penumbral companion, can actually warn him of danger ahead. And so, a charming yet perilous journey begins.
After escaping a series of pitfalls his shadow leads him to a strange creature called Nothing. It soon becomes clear that Vasco must get Nothing’s newborn child, Poco, to safety. Nonstop angers await them at every step, but Vasco’s shadow leads the way. Together they flee through apocalyptic landscapes until, finally, they reach a safe haven. Here, Vasco’s shadow quietly disappears.
It’s a tough yet comforting story, which serves as a simple fantasy tale, a latter-day myth, and a timely metaphor. Ungerer's illustrative powers are certainly at their peak in this last book, in which he pairs a striking palette with beautiful choices of perspective. In all, this final masterpiece is both visually satisfying and narratively nourishing, and will delight readers whether they’re five-to-eight-year-olds (the book’s stated audience) or adults, and still alive to great storytelling.
To find out more and to order your copy of this brilliant book, go here.