Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review - The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

Title: The Red Tree 
Author: Shaun Tan 
Year: 2008 
Page: 32 
Genre: Graphic novel

New to me author? No 
Read this author again? Yes!!
Tearjerker? No 
Where did it take place? Anywhere!
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
An astonishing fable in picture-book format. A girl moving through landscapes of hopelessness and isolation encounters an image of hope on the book's final page. Through the weight of her sorrow, readers conclude, on both intellectual and emotional levels, that living in despair is waiting for hope. Tan's sophisticated mixed-media illustrations include fantasy and dream elements, and subtle symbolism packed together with an array of art techniques ranging from complicated cut-paper collages to Drescher-like paintings, but serious. These complex pictures send visual impressions powerful enough to cause readers to gasp as a new page is revealed. The simple, direct text ("darkness overcomes you" or "sometimes you just don't know what you are supposed to do"), often poetic ("the world is a deaf machine"), serves both as an entryway into the complicated illustrations, and as an enhancement to them. Perhaps too sophisticated in its point of view for some youngsters, this is nonetheless a book of amazing beauty, high quality, and distinguished artistry.

First Sentence:
Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to...
Why did I pick this book?
After reading the Arrival by Shaun Tan, I can't wait to read his other books! I have also borrowed Tales From Outer Suburbia and The Lost Thing.

My thoughts:
  • This book has a bit more words than The Arrival, which is wordless :) 
  • The story is rather simple, but on-so-true...
  • While the drawing is not as detailed or realistic as that of The Arrival, but I really, really love the drawings (or are they paintings?) of this book - it is simple but beautiful. I am very, very tempted to buy the book just to frame the pages up. (need to finish painting the rooms before I can decide where I could hang up art... so not buying the book yet)
  • I think I like the Red Tree just a tad better than the Arrival just because of its whimsical quality
  • Shaun Tan is no doubt very talented! I will probably read The Lost Thing (a little more words yet!) before Tales From Outer Suburbia which has a lot more words (short story format)! So it'll be interesting to see the balance of words and drawings.
  • No Quote (I'll probably end up quoting the whole book!) but I'll leave you some pictures!


    Rating: 5 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. Thanks for introducing this book. I will add it to my TBR! Looks like another great book from Shaun Tan!

    2. @Aths - Shuan Tan is definitely very talented!!