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Jean-Thomas "Tomi" Ungerer (28 Nov. 1931); French illustrator and a writer in 3 languages. He has published over 140 books ranging from much loved children's books to controversial adult work and from the fantastic to the autobiographical. He is known for sharp social satire and witty aphorisms.
Ungerer received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1998 for his "lasting contribution" as a children's illustrator.
Ungerer describes himself first and foremost as a story teller and satirist. Prevalent themes in his work include political satire such as drawings and posters against the Vietnam War and against animal cruelty, eroticism, and imaginative subjects for children's books.
As a young man, Ungerer was inspired by the illustrations appearing in The New Yorker magazine, particularly the work of Saul Steinberg. In 1957, the year after he moved to the US, Harper & Row published his first children's book, The Mellops Go Flying, and his second, The Mellops Go Diving for Treasure; by the early 1960s he had created at least 10 children's picture books with Harper, plus a few others, and had illustrated some books by other writers. He also did illustration work for such publications as The New York Times, Esquire, Life, Harper's Bazaar, The Village Voice, and for television during the 1960s, and began to create posters denouncing the Vietnam War.
Maurice Sendak called Moon Man (1966) "easily one of the best picture books in recent years."
After Allumette; A Fable, with Due Respect to Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, and the Honorable Ambrose Bierce in 1974, he ceased writing children's books, focusing instead on adult-level books, many of which focused on sexuality. He eventually returned to children's literature with Flix 1998. Ungerer donated many of the manuscripts and artwork for his early children’s books to the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia.