Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne. Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is Tales from Outer Suburbia. Shaun is the winner of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren prize, the world's richest children's literature award. The awad described Shaun as 'a masterly visually storyteller'. The Lost Thing animation recently won an Oscar for the best animated short film. Shaun Tan grew up in Perth and graduated from the University of Western Australia with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature. He began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. His works include The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, Rules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival. All have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and are enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer and a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E and in 2011, he shared an Academy Award for his work on the animated short film based on his book, The Lost Thing. In that same year, he won the Dromkeen Medal for services to children's literature and the Astrid Lindgren prize, the world's richest children's literature award. For more information visit shauntan.net
With this haunting, wordless sequence about a lonely emigrant in a bewildering city, Tan (The Lost Thing) finds in the graphic novel format an ideal outlet for his sublime imagination. Via pencil illustrations that resemble sepia photographs or film cels, Tan depicts a man's poignant departure from his wife and daughter. Stark stone houses, treeless streets and rustic kitchen appliances imply past eras-the man leaves home via an outmoded locomotive and steamship-but strange visuals reveal this is not our everyday world. Shadowy dragon tails trawl the sky of the man's homeland, suggesting pogrom or famine, and when he arrives at an Ellis Island-style port (the endpapers depict passport photos of multicultural travelers), his documents are stamped with cryptic symbols. He gets aboard an unmanned hot-air balloon that delivers him to a vast metropolis with unfamiliar customs and bizarre technologies (imagine, perhaps, a Gehry-designed city). Tan offers no written explanations on this foreign space, so readers fully grasp the man's confusion when he lands a job pasting posters, then hangs them upside-down until his employer corrects him. Readers also understand his empathy for other exiles (each with their tragic stories of immigration) and with a friendly family that invites him to a meal of the local produce, which resembles exotic anemonae. In an oddly charming touch, each person has a distinctive animal companion, reminiscent of Philip Pullman's daemons or Hieronymus Bosch's alchemical creations. The man receives his own creature, a creepy-cute white monster with an egg-shaped torso, huge mouth and waving, eel-like tail; initially repulsed, he slowly warms to its amiable disposition. Just as gradually, his melancholy gives way to optimism and community as, despite setbacks, he benefits from the kindness of strangers. Tan adeptly controls the book's pacing and rhythm by alternating a gridlike layout of small panels, which move the action forward, with stirring single- and double-page spreads that invite awestruck pauses. By flawlessly developing nuances of human feeling and establishing the enigmatic setting, he compassionately describes an immigrant's dilemma. Nearly all readers will be able to relate-either through personal or ancestral experience-to the difficulties of starting over, be it in another country, city, or community. And few will remain unaffected by this timeless stunner. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4 Up-Sepia-toned panels and full spreads mimic a scrapbook design appropriate to this exploration of immigration. After a man leaves his family, fantasy and reality mingle to convey his emotional and physical states. Signs in an invented language help readers identify with his confusion. The search for meaning is fruitful. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
With this haunting, wordless sequence about a lonely emigrant in a bewildering city, Tan finds in the graphic novel format an ideal outlet for his sublime imagination few will remain unaffected by this timeless stunner.' - Publishers Weekly