November 30, 2021


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Bedtime Story: Tommy Angerer "And Now You".  reconsidering.  - culture

Bedtime Story: Tommy Angerer “And Now You”. reconsidering. – culture

A literary discovery, this bedtime book with text by William Cole and illustrations by Tommy Ungerer. In 1963 it was published in New York by the International Publishing House under the title “Francis Face Maker”. But only now it was released in German, shortly before Tommy Angerer turned 90. Translated by Anna Kramer Clet, and published by Diogenes. It is about a little girl who, like all children, still brings up a thousand things in the evening: “It was the same / With the McGee family / And their little Franzie. / Until one evening / My father thought of something: / Today we play a new game.” The game is called “Make faces”.

William Cole: And now you. Bedtime book. With illustrations by Tomi Ungerer. Translated from the English by Anna Kramer Clet. Diogenes Verlag, 2021. 32 pages, €16.

William Cole’s script inspires Tomi Ungerer to deliver interactive, carnival-like gameplay in the usual chalky coal strokes. The girl makes the fiercest grimaces, makes an angry grimace, shivering, behaving reverently like a bitch or lying in bed. With the line “And now you” we are asked to play from one image to another. Is this emotional ego trip enough to put you to sleep? The girl’s look at her father gives the answer: “One thing is still missing at the end of the day: Franzie is waiting for a goodnight kiss.”

This picture book shows how Tommy Ungerer’s blend of poetic, bizarre, and cruel reality has also defined his view of children’s literature. He condemned “Stories of the Perfect World” and once said that he had not written or drawn for children for many years, “because there are many titles, one worse and sweeter than the other.”

Copyright Notice: From: Tomi Ungerer / William Cole And Now You're An American Good Night Book by Anna Cramer-Klett © 2021 Diogenes Verlag, Zurich

Imitation is desirable when making faces.

The time Ungerer painted “And Now You” fell in love with him during the difficult phase of life in which he tried to gain a foothold in the United States from 1956 onwards. He did not reach the prudent and conservative society of the time, and with his illustrations, advertising contracts and political campaigns, he was targeted by the FBI. And when the volumes “Party” (1969) and “Vernicon” (1971) were published, he was forced to emigrate to Canada.

On the first page of “And Now You” you might see him as a two-faced fool, happy and sad at the same time. He announces his bedtime story – camouflaged under the cover of a bell.

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