'Great Graphic Wednesday' is a weekly blog posting. Check here every Wednesday for reviews of recommended graphic novels, by members of the Tinlids Graphic Novel Book Club.
Lost and Found Written and Illustrated by Shaun Tan
Details: Hardcover, colour illustrations. ISBN 9780545229241
Summary (from the inside cover): A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world. A boy leads a strange, lost creature home. And a group of peaceful creatures cedes their home to cruel invaders. Shaun Tan, with his understated voice and brilliant draftsmanship, has proved that he has a unique imaginative window to our souls, and an unparalleled ability to share that opening with pictures and narratives that are as unexpected as they are deeply true. Originally published in Australia, these three beloved and acclaimed tales were never widely available in the U.S. Now for the first time, The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and the John Marsden classic The Rabbits are presented in their entirety with additional new artwork and authors' notes. Together they tell a tale that will leave no reader unmoved, about how we lose and find what matters most to us.
Review: As soon as I picked this book up, my hand started moving up and down the exquisitely designed cover. The title is perfectly placed and the embossed words and illustration just beg to be touched. The image on the cover is the “thing” from The Lost Thing, one of the three stories in this collection. This is the story that Shaun Tan won an Oscar for last week (for Best Short Film Animated). Open the book and you’ll find gorgeous little pencil drawings on the end pages. And of course that’s just the beginning. Shaun Tan is such a genius with words and images. His first sentence “sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to” is accompanied by an illustration of a girl sitting up in bed staring at her bedspread. It’s like looking through a window at first, but then as the illustrations change, you feel like you’re right there with her. This story is about depression and hope, and unexpected things that sometimes seem to happen or appear out of nowhere.
The second story “The Lost Thing” is about this guy who finds this huge thing that seems to be lost. He feels sorry for it, so he takes it home, but eventually he has to take it somewhere else, because his parents don’t want it in their home. I was struck by how much compassion I actually felt for this object – like it was human. More proof of the author’s incredible talent.
The final story “The Rabbits” is about the conflict between two cultures and what happens when one culture takes over. Again the sparse text and powerful illustrations really capture the emotions and allow the reader to make their own connections and conclusions. These three stories contain so many timeless themes: depression, alienation, belonging, peace, culture, political issues, justice, environment and hope. I highly recommend this for grades 6 to adult.
I can’t wait to see what Shaun Tan does next!
Maria Martella is the owner of Tinlids Inc
To order www.tinlids.ca
Lost and Found ISBN 9780545229241
The Arrival ISBN 9780439895293
Tales from Outer Suburbia ISBN 9780771084027