Children’s Book of the Week: The Three Robbers

The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer

This is a book I think of as a “tip of the iceberg” book. Some books are simple, and you read them, and you’re done. But a tip of the iceberg book: you read it, it seems fairly straightforward, but then you finish it and sort of think, “Well, what was that all about?” And then your child asks you to read it again. And again. And the more you read it, the more you start to think there’s a lot more to the story than you originally realized.

In this story, three robbers are generally Bad Guys, and hold up carriages on a regular basis, stealing everything they can from the passengers. Then they rob a carriage that carries only a little orphan named Tiffany (it strikes me as odd that Tiffany is a name in a book published in 1962, but there you go, it is), who has nothing to steal, and is on her way to live with an awful aunt, so the robbers steal her. They put her in a comfy bed, and in the morning she asks them what the deal is with all their overflowing treasure boxes. They never thought about what they were going to do with all their stolen riches, but are so taken with Tiffany that they spend it all on starting up an orphanage and generally going from bad to good in one day.

This book was just reissued, so we’re not the only ones who love it. I swear we get it out of the library every other visit. I’m sorry that I’m kind of at a loss to properly articulate its appeal, but it’s not a super long book, so go ahead and try it for yourself. Or you can watch the YouTube video of the book (one of those Weston Woods productions, which are great).

Bonus Three Robbers vocab word: blunderbuss.

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