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.
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.
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.
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.
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.