or: The Grey Gentlemen

Momo lives outside a big city, within the ruins of an amphitheatre. She owns nothing but what she finds or receives as a present but she has an extraordinary gift: She is a wonderful listener. One day, however, the grey gentlemen enter the stage. They are after the precious lifetime of people – and Momo is the only one able to stop them. The unkempt little heroine has nothing but a flower in her hand and a tortoise tucked under her arm to fight the vast army of the “grey gentlemen”.
It is the enigma “time” itself that this book is about, an enigma that fascinates thoughtful children and also adults who have not forgotten how to be astonished about things that appear normal. A fairytale? One could call it that if one understands the term in the sense of the Romantic Age. Day and dream flow into each other in a poetic way. Maybe something like a novel? Let’s say: A fairytale-novel.


  • Pages: 272
  • First published in: 1973
  • ISBN: 3522177509
  • Edition: Hardcover
  • Illustrations: Michael Ende
  • Original publisher: Thienemann Verlag
  • Translations:
    Afrikaans, American English, Basque, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, English, Estonian, Faro Islands; Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Catalan, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Serbo-Croatian, Sinhala, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Hungarian

Press Reviews

We do not hesitate to say that his new fairytale novel represents quasi the quintessence of a new literary genre, which has freed itself from a stiffly one-dimensional “engagement”, be it of a literarily experimental, political, sociological or philosophical nature. And yet unites this book with lots of tensions poetry, scientific fantasy and socio-political satire in a truly original way. All in all, Michael Ende has managed to do the trick and to write a fairytale novel for children as well as adults.
Gustav René Hocke in 'Die Welt'
Michael Ende has written an important book. [...] He, the fairytale poet, has told the unbelievable and the believable with the cheerful logic of the absurd, both of them vivid, serious or humorous, according to content. And easy enough, so that children aged 11 and over can read it.
Süddeutsche Zeitung
Momo belongs among the most beautiful and most important children’s books that have been written during the last few years. It is a parable about time that is given to people but lost again and again because money and success causes them to get in their own way.
Die Zeit
A totally unique and enchanting piece of children’s literature is "Momo". [...] a poetically written fairytale that means nothing else but our presence and our reality. A beautiful book that manages to fascinate children and encourages them to think about its subjects.
Südwestfunk Baden-Baden
In this fairy tale novel young people and children that suffer from their hectic lifestyle are encouraged in a fantastic way. But at the same time they are asked to use this encouragement and transfer their experience with the novel into reality.
Deutscher Jugendbuchpreis 1974. (German Award for Children’s Books). From the declaration of the jury.

Other Editions

  • Anniversary Edition:
    Thienemann Verlag 2013, 288 pages hardcover, new illustrations.
  • Retro Edition:
    Thienemann Verlag 2013, 272 pages, paperback with illustrations.
  • Momo
    Thienemann Verlag 2005, 301 pages, hardcover with illustrations by Friedrich Hechelmann.
  • Paperback:
    several editions, most recent: Goldmann 2002.

Audio Book

  • Momo
    Uncut readig by Gert Heidenreich
    Silberfisch 2013


Radio Play

  • Momo - The radio play
    Silberfisch 2013
  • Momo
    With Harald Leipnitz and Irina Wanka (New edition of the radio play LP from 1975), 3 parts, also available as MC. Universal 1998 and 1999. The classic with music by Frank Duval.
  • Momo. The Original Radio Play after the Book
    Producer and director: Anke Beckert, Heinz-Günter Stamm, Music: Heinz Duval, app. 155 Min., 3 CD, Family Entertainment, (Universal Music) 2007.
  • Momo
    Radio play for children with Rufus Beck and Julia Lechner, 192 Min, 3 CDs, DerAudioVerlag, 2005.


  • Momo
    1986 von Rialto Film (Berlin), Iduna Film (München), Cinecittà (Rom) und Sacis (Rom). Regie: Johannes Schaaf. Darsteller: Radost Bokel, Mario Adorf u.a.
  • DVD:
    von Kinowelt Home Entertainment 2000. (Film von J. Schaaf)

For Schools

  • Klasse! (Classy!)
    Reading material. Models for teaching literature in class 5-10 by Christiane Michaelis: Michael Ende: Momo, Oldenbourg Verlag 2001, 86 pages.
  • Momo - Schulausgabe
    (Momo School Edition)

    Thienemann Verlag (with material) 2005, paperback, 335 pages
  • Dorothee Markert:
    Momo, Pippi, Rote Zora ... was dann?
    (Momo, Pippi, Red Zora – and then?)

    Reading education; female authority and gender democracy. Ulrike Helmer Verlag 1998.

Animated Picture

  • Momo
    Animated picture after the novel by, Italy 2001. Director: Enzo d’ Alò.
  • DVD:
    Animated picture series after the novel by Michael Ende’ Germany 2002. Director: Colum Burke. DVD Box (6 DVD), ZYX Music and KirchMedia GmbH, 2001 and 2004.


  • Soiku Shigematsu:
    Momo erzählt Zen
    Aus dem Japanischen übersetzt von Michael Weissert, Theseus Verlag 1991. Mit einem Gespräch zwischen Michael Ende und Soiku Shigematsu über Zen und die Kunst.