The duality of human nature may never be fully understood or explained, but what’s probably true is that everyone is capable of both ‘good’ and ‘evil’, since even our definitions of the two differ from person to person. First published in 1962, The Three Robbers is refreshingly original and presents an interesting conundrum: is it possible for someone who has committed terrible crimes, to also do something noble?
While somewhat simplistic, Tomi Ungerer’s superb storytelling and boldly expressive illustrations help to spin a convincing and heartwarming tale about three ruthless robbers who turn over a new leaf when they have a life-changing encounter with a little girl who unexpectedly turns the tables on them: she steals their hearts. After all, if there’s one thing that is guaranteed to turn your life upside down — or right side up — it’s having a kid in your life.
And perhaps, as this unlikely fable shows, even seemingly incorrigible people are capable of changing for the better — but only if given sufficient impetus to do so. Ah well, in any case, who doesn’t love a good fairytale ending?