Sunday, April 24, 2011

Review: Lost & Found by Shaun Tan

Tan’s paintings create a surreal reading experience that is fantastic and poignant. The paintings themselves are exquisite but difficult to define. Their concepts are rather abstract in that Tan represents emotions and everyday experiences by slightly altering traditional metaphors. Tan uses the unexpected and foreign to create a different perspective on the familiar. From observing the pictures, it appears Tan uses many different substances including oil, pencil and text clippings that look like they are from  newspapers or books.

Lost & Found is a collection of three previously published stories, The Red Tree (my favorite), The Lost Things, and The Rabbits (written by John Marsden and illustrated by Tan). While the stories can be dark they remain stories about humanity and the human experience. The themes are presented in such a way that anyone should be able to relate.

Categorizing this book, defining its genre and audience, is difficult. On his website, Tan explains that he does not write or paint with children in mind yet, it is children who often pick up on the subtleties in his paintings. It is a testament to his ability that Tan’s books reach a wide audience. If you have not heard of or read anything by Shaun Tan, I highly suggest you give his books a try.

Publisher: Author A. Levine Books, 2011     Pages: 128
Rating: 4 Stars     Source: Public Library


  1. I thought The Rabbits would be such a cool story to use in a Social Studies classroom! Have you read Tales from Outer Suburbia, also by Tan? I think that's my favorite of his so far :)

  2. Yeah, The Rabbits would be great for social studies! Lost & Found is my first experience with Shaun Tan but I'll be reading more by him for sure. I've heard great things about The Arrival.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. I keep remembering then forgetting to order this book for my library. I love Tan's other books. I am psyched for this one.