Based on the Oscar award-winning short film, this book asks important questions: What does it mean to see things differently? What is important to notice?
Shaun Tan is the author and illustrator of The Lost Thing, The Red Tree and The Arrival, all of which have won numerous international awards. The Lost Thing animation recently won an Oscar for the best animated short film. The Arrival won Shaun the Bologna Ragazzi Prize and Picture Book of the Year from CBCA 2007 amongst others. Shaun's books have been widely translated. Previous books Shaun has illustrated include The Rabbits by John Marsden (CBCA Picture Book of the Year) and with Gary Crew, Memorial (A CBCA Honour Book) and The Viewer (winner of the Crichton Award for illustration). In 2001 Shaun received the 'World Fantasy Best Artist Award' for his body of work. Shaun is the winner of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren prize, the world's richest children's literature award. The award described Shaun as 'a masterly visually storyteller'.
Gr 3 Up-Tan's collage artwork for this picture book is full of the wonderfully strange. When a humungous "lost thing" at the beach catches the eye of a boy previously occupied with his bottle-cap collection, no one else seems to notice-not even his parents, although it takes up a good part of their living space when he brings it home. The boy sets off to find a place for the thing within an industrial landscape awash in gray matter-pipes, gears, and a few concrete structures. On the periphery of the central illustrations are postcards, road signs, words and diagrams from an engineering textbook, and faux government fliers such as the one from "The Federal Department of Odds & Ends," where the motto is "sweepus underum carpetae." Readers are bound to become adept perceivers as they move through the book and delight in discovering these exterior notes. Tan's illustrations offer playful tributes that could serve as introductions to such artists as Miro, Duchamp, Dali, Kandinski, Hopper, John Brack, and Jeffrey Smart. This book asks important questions: What does it mean to see things differently? What is important to notice? The lost thing suggests that what can not be fit neatly into a box has great potential to wake us (if we pay attention) and help us see the world anew. Tan is a singular talent.-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Tan's affecting and sophisticated picture books, including The Red Tree, pack an emotional and visual wallop, but saturate readers with ennui. This melancholy story, despite pale whimsy, cannot muster much hope for those "lost things" with uncertain raisons d'?tre. The narrator is a stoop-shouldered, Dilbert-like nerd who finds the Lost Thing while collecting those quintessential cast-offs-bottle caps-on an industrial beach. Tan pictures the Lost Thing as a garbage-truck-size red vessel with crablike gray claws and tentacles, equal parts organism, machine and teakettle. Surely it is too weird to pass unnoticed, yet everyone ignores it. The storyteller and thing interact like a boy and dog, playing fetch, making a sandcastle (or sand-factory, really). After feeding the thing in his gloomy backyard shed, the hero tries to deliver it to the windowless Federal Department of Odds & Ends. Yet he cannot bear to leave it there: "This is a place for forgetting," a machine/man hybrid janitor portends. Only through effort does he find an alternative suggested by the janitor, "a dark little gap off some anonymous little street," which opens into a Dal!-esque habitation of other frolicking, forgotten things. Tan's intricate multimedia paintings reference Hopper's empty windows and the alienated cityscapes of Lang's Metropolis. This weighty book is best suited to mature children or older comics/science-fiction readers, who will goggle at the marvelous illustrations. Ages 7-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This book is a quest for the "Lost Thing" to find a place where it belongs. But perhaps even more, it is also a quest for meaning on the part of the reader. guardian.co.uk A warm, funny read for kids, and an unexpectedly moving one for adults. Cambridge First