When I first saw Nonstop by Tomi Ungerer I figured it was going to be an odd little book. Maybe serious, but nothing too drastic. Maybe even funny in a quirky way. Also, I would not have been surprised if it had been a wordless picture book. It had gotten press, but I was thinking since the art was different and the fact it was Ungerer (not to mention his last picture book) that was the reason it was getting attention.
Instead, I was slapped upside the head by a surreal and depressing book with an odd piece of hope throughout. You can tell Ungerer was nearing the end of his life when he was writing this. The book is a book about spiritualism, living and being okay to age and pass on. There is the hope, however, when the main character finds a young creature/child/alien in this vast dystopian Earth that has been deserted by all other life forms. This hope for taking care of something/someone gives him purpose. The three characters (the narrator, the child, and the narrators shadow) keep moving through all sorts of dangers, until they finally find shelter. This is where it ends.
I do not think I would give this to a child, unless you are looking for a book about death without saying it outright (at least two characters you assume are dying and one you are fairly certain that she does die soon after we see her). Though for the adult who likes Ungerer’s work, loves unusual art (as it is truly an art book first and foremost) or you are looking for something different or for the person who has everything, this might be a possible gift. Though, I say, find it for yourself and decide from there.