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Fattypuffs and Thinifers

August 12th, 2005 (08:46 am)

When I was a kid, I had this strange book (and still have) that nobody else ever seems to have read. FATTYPUFFS & THINIFERS, by Andre Maurois, 1930. Wonderfully illustrated by Fritz Wegner. My edition is 1968. The book seems to be out of print now, probably due to its rather politically incorrect plotline. I'm not even sure how I got it, it just seemed to appear on my bookshelf one day.

to the center of the Earth!

In the book, two brothers, a fat one and a thin one, find an escalator that goes down to the center of the Earth. There they find a hollow world: a sea, on either side of which are two nations, Fattipuff, and Thinifer, inhabited entirely by fat people and thin people, respectively.


The Fattipuffs are obviously meant to be rather German, the Thinifers English. Their architecture, trains, even their farm animals are all as fat or as thin as they are.


The brothers are separated, the fat one to Fattipuff, the thin one to Thinifer. Eventually the Fattipuffs and the Thinifers go to war, in a very World War I-style conflict.


The Fattipuffs are roundly trounced and surrender to the Thinifers.

Eventually there is somewhat of a meeting of the cultures. Occupying Thinifer soldiers take Fattipuff warbrides. Thinifer children get hooked on Fattipuff culinary treats.

Still, I decided early on I'd better stay on the side of the Thinifers.

Update 2013-08-16: An anonymous commenter in Nuremberg below sent me a link (Actually 3 months ago, but I just now found it) to a 2009 post on the blog Hobopok Dimanche with entirely different illustrations by Jean Bruller from a 1967 French edition of Patapoufs et Filifers. Fun! I like the Fritz Wegner illustrations better, but I suspect it's whatever version you first read as a kid.


Posted by: Girl Five (terracinque)
Posted at: August 12th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC)
Kim Doonesbury

Looks like a wonderful book!

Posted by: A Nightingale's Echo (nightingal_echo)
Posted at: November 9th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)

Did you scan those pictures? or were they found online?

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 11:22 am (UTC)

I scanned them. Just a small sampling of the many illustrations in the book.

Unfortunately, the book appears to be out of print right now.

And somehow, I don't expect to see an animated or live action FATTIPUFFS AND THINIFERS movie anytime soon. :)

Posted by: A Nightingale's Echo (nightingal_echo)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)

If they were to come out with a movie/tv show, who would play who?

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)

Gee, I don't know; even supermodels are positively Rubenesque in comparison to Thinifers.

And for Fattipuffs, I guess with a Fat Suit, anybody could play one.

On the animated front, the teenage girl in THE INCREDIBLES would be a good Thinifer.

I'm no Fattipuff, but I'm not as Thinifer as I used to be. :)

Posted by: A Nightingale's Echo (nightingal_echo)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)

hey, you seem worthy enough to be added to my flist.. would you like to be?

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC)

Sure, I would be honored!

"I'd like to thank the Academy for this nomination..."

Posted by: A Nightingale's Echo (nightingal_echo)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)

feel free to add me back :D

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: November 11th, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC)


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
I had the book too!

I had the book too, and really liked it. Came across a copy in a 2nd hand shop recently and read it again for the first time in probably getting on for 20 - 30 years! I remember the way that the entrance to the escalator was between two large upright stones - really caught my imagination!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 28th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
Fattypuffs and Thinnifers

Have to confess I had the original English edition as a child - twas probably my older brother's. The illustrations were, in my memory at least, far superior to the examples you shewed.

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: May 28th, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Fattypuffs and Thinnifers

I think you're misremembering. It's extremely unlikely that the illustrations in the volume you had as a child were any different from these, which are the same in the original French version.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 30th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Fattypuffs and Thinnifers

(I'm the "found one in a 2nd hand shop" poster above). Yes, I remember the illustrations were definitely the same in the book I originally had. Very distinctive!!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 22nd, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)

I had the book as a child and the illustrations were very different to these, and in color too

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: January 22nd, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)

I believe you. Mostly.
I'd believe you even more if you can point to a scanned example.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 18th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)

Here is a scanned example ( several, even ): (

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 18th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)

Here is a scanned example ( several, even ):

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 18th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)

I am trying to send you a link to a French blog where several illustrations by Jean Bruller are scanned in, but my messages are marked as spams. So here is the link again, this time without the "http": I hope it works.

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: August 16th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)

Sorry, usually I get an email when there are new submissions marked as spam, but I just now found these by accident, some 3 months after you sent it.

Thanks for those. On this blog, they are indeed some illustrations different from the Fritz Wegner ones. From a 1967 French edition, illustrations by Jean Bruller, Patapoufs et Filifers.

I don't like the illustrations as well as the Fritz Wegner ones, but I suspect it's probably whichever version you first read as a kid!

Edited at 2013-08-16 03:28 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 10th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Fattypuffs and Thinifers

This is a genius book and I recently read it to my daughter - she loved it.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
thinifers and fattifpuffs

The book was by the French author Andre Maurois, which I first read in the
early 1940's. The Thinifers, in retrospect, were obviously
German, who were ultradisciplined, slept in a tube at a 45 degree angle downwards, woken up by an alarmwhich dispatched them into a tub of ice water. The Fattifpuffs,
by contrast, were hedonists, who loved life and were obiously French. The war between the Thinifers and the Fattipuffs left the French defeated. The Germans, literal-minded as they were,
missed the symbolism. Neither did they the understand the symbolism of Camus' "The Plague", also written during the German occupation of France, and which was also was really about
the German occupation of France.

Posted by: Jayson Obedoza (jaobedoza)
Posted at: March 6th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)

Why did the Thinifers win the war? I figured they are no match for the more robust Fattipuffs army.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)

I have fattipuffs and thinifers and even now, at 34 I love this book!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 21st, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
So glad to find others have heard of it!

I was just googling as i remember Fattypuffs and Thinifers very fondly from Jackanory (BBC tv) in my childhood - i don't think i ever held the book in my hands. I had no idea it was by André Maurois, and Wikipedia tells me it's Patapoufs et Filifers in French.
Also, at the bottom of the Wikipedia article: "The Film Consortium has the rights to make a film of the story and has even received £20,000 of UK National Lottery funding."
I've also just found it on Amazon for less than £4! yippee 80)

Posted by: easytiger1 (easytiger1)
Posted at: May 16th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)

I also had this book in the seventies and although I thought it was good it always creeped me out a bit. I remember one trench warfare sketch where the fattipuffs had huge bulbous trenches to accommodate their girth and the thinnifers had tall narrow trenches....

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 22nd, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)

I also had this book as a child and absolutely loved it. I read it over and over. There was so much humor, both in the texts and the illustrations. It was a satire of human nature, in some ways a little like Gulliver's Travels. Nobody I have ever met has ever heard of the book. Thanks for posting -- now I know I am not alone!

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)

I should point out, I thought this book was out of print --- and maybe it is ---- but there's a 2000 paperback reprint that can be found on Amazon for between $10-$20: Amazon.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: July 7th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)

oh my god i remember this book typed it in google to find it and this came up ......

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 27th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)

I too read the book & loved it. I've never forgotten it & can still vividly remember the artwork. It's a shame that it probably would be considered politically incorrect as it is one of those rare things...A perfect book for kids. Happy memories !

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: November 11th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)

I remember reading this book in primary school, about 40 years ago. It obviously made a lasting impression, and I decided to google it, not really expecting to find anything... and I found this.

Posted by: Bea Alden (Bea Alden)
Posted at: February 10th, 2013 03:09 am (UTC)

Yes, as a small child I had an edition of this book that I have never seen since. It was a bit bigger than the 1968 edition such as in your piece, above, which is actually still available. it was more like 8" x 10" in size and as I recall the language, probably abridged for younger children. The illustrations were in full color. I absolutely loved it and my Dad loved reading it to me. "Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!" he read with gusto. Has anyone seen this edition anywhere?

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: February 10th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)

I do note this 1989 paperback:


Which is the only one I see with a markedly different cover illustration than the Fritz Wegner artwork.

Of course, it's hard to tell, the interior could still have the Wegner drawings.

Edited at 2013-02-10 12:49 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 12:37 am (UTC)

I remember, as a child of about 11, back in the late fifties, borrowing a copy of this book from my junior school library. The illustrations were all black and white, pen and ink drawings. I was so taken with the book that I borrowed it several times and it obviolusly made a significant impression as I still remember it now aged 65.

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: February 24th, 2013 10:15 am (UTC)

Yes, I think most editions of the book have the Fritz Wegner illustrations at the top of this article.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 24th, 2014 06:53 am (UTC)

I had this book as a child in the sixties and which belonged to my father when he was young. So I suspect that copy dated from around the 40's.

I don't recognise the illustrations in the original post but the ones in the link to Hobopok Dimanche are identical to the copy I had, except it was in English.

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