TOON Books announces the publication of Pretty Ugly, the first children’s book from popular humor writer David Sedaris and the first from the late Ian Falconer, creator of the bestselling and beloved Olivia children’s book franchise, since his death in March of this year. To be published February 27, 2024 as a hardcover picture book for kids ages 5 and up, Pretty Ugly showcases the comic brilliance of the bestselling duo as they look at the age-old question of why we deem some people beautiful and others ugly.
“Twenty years ago, I asked David and Ian to create a piece for a comics anthology called Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids,” says Françoise Mouly, founder and publisher of TOON Books. “Together they created Pretty Ugly, a funny fable that manages to reveal a profound lesson about tolerance. It’s a perfect example of visual storytelling. They came up with the idea together and wouldn’t tell me about it til it was done. You need to see the images when you read, and you have to let the rhythm of the story and art unfold to get to the reveal and appreciate all the humor. When I started TOON Books, I kept going back to that work thinking it could be a stand-alone picture book, but never got around to it til recently. With the systematic attacks so-called conservatives are leveling on all those they see as deviant or even just different, it felt urgent to publish a tale with such a clear moral center. David and Ian agreed and earlier this year, we finalized the editing and design, prepping it for Spring 2024 publication. A few weeks before he died, I sent Ian the dummy and–in true Ian style–he remarked, ‘this looks great. I can’t wait to see it bound…and gagged.’
“It gives me such pleasure to be able to share one of Ian Falconer’s final projects and David Sedaris’ first book for children,” continues Mouly, “and bring the genius of both comic greats to kids, parents, teachers and everyone who loves a good funny book.”
Pretty Ugly will be published ob February 27, 2024 and you can pre-order the 32 page hardcover book HERE for $18.99.