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A masterwork!

  • Nov 22, 2009
  • by
This book is an experience. Shaun Tan's mind, I don't even know how you would describe it and coupled with his extremely beautiful art, it's just mind blowing. Basically everything you've ever heard about Shaun Tan is true, he's a master and this book is a true gem.

The stories range from one page to several, from tiny simple illustrations to full page extremely detailed ones. I haven't read his book The Arrival yet, but Tales From Outer Suburbia sure seems like a masterwork to me. Even the Table of Contents which is usually very simple in books is extremely beautiful, it might actually be my favorite page in the book. It is a series of postage stamps one for each story.

While the stories explore a variety of situations and events they all carry this feeling of a beautiful and haunting imagination. Pick this book up now, seriously.

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review by . March 30, 2009
"On a cold night last winter there was a fire at the house of a man who only days before had beaten his dog to death. Being a strong man, he was able to rescue all his belongings single-handedly, carryng them out of the burning building and onto the front lawn. As soon as he finished, a hundred dogs of every shape and size trotted into the flickering light from the surrounding shadows and promptly sat on top of every appliance a piece of furniture as if it were there own. They would not let the …
review by . November 13, 2008
This book is brilliant in every sense of the word... from the beautiful imagery to the creative and touching stories it expresses. It has depth and subtle complexity... all while making you smile and silently pulling at your heart strings in the process. Some stories are just amusingly absurd... and I mean this in the best way possible. Words cannot describe this book adequately... it's simply one of those books you have to experience to understand. Artists in particular will love this book... or …
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Starred Review. Grade 4 Up—For those who loved Tan's surreal and evocativeThe Arrival(Scholastic, 2007), the Australian author follows up with a brilliant collection of illustrated vignettes. Fifteen short texts, each accompanied by Tan's signature black-and-white and full-color artwork, take the mundane world and transform it into a place of magical wonders. In the opening tale, a water buffalo sits in an abandoned suburban lot, offering silent but wise direction to those youngsters who are patient enough to follow his guidance. In "Eric," the title character (a tiny, leaflike creature) visits a family as a foreign exchange student and fascinates them with his sense of wonder. His parting gift to the family is sure to warm even the coldest heart. Other stories describe the fate of unread poetry, the presence of silent stick figures who roam the suburbs, or an expedition to the edge of a map. In spirit, these stories are something akin to the wit and wisdom of Shel Silverstein. The surrealist art of Rene Magritte also comes to mind, but perhaps Chris Van Allsburg's belovedThe Mysteries of Harris Burdick(Houghton, 1984) comes closest as a comparable work. While somewhat hard to place due to the unusual nature of the piece, this book is a small treasure, or, rather, a collection of treasures.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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ISBN-10: 0545055873
ISBN-13: 978-0545055871
Author: Shaun Tan
Genre: Children's Books
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
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