Shaun Tan’s new book The Singing Bones.

I have only just bought a copy of Shaun Tan’s new book, The Singing Bones. It is a change in style from the previous publications he has been involved in. The style of the illustrations are very Tan but the medium in which they were created is new. They are quite amazing but I will need to have more time to fully grasp what he has created as he tried to encapsulate the gist of each fairytale. As always the detail and power of his deceptively simple images is amazing. As I looked at them some seem familiar, appearing to be inspired by character drawings in his earlier publications, and others completely new and powerful in their strangeness. I am never disappointed with Shaun Tan’s works, he never ceases to inspire and challenge me as a reader.

The singing bones - Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was approached to illustrate the German edition of a new Philip Pullman book. On his website Shaun explains how he became involved in the publication. It is interesting to read about how he came to the decision to create the illustrations for the book. It is a collection of many classic fairy tales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman with the title Grimms Märchen.

In the end there were more illustrations than were needed and so these were used to illustrate The Singing Bones.  Jack Zipes has written some short but potent interpretations of the fairytales to accompany the images.

There are other versions of this collection of classic fairytales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman under the title  Grimm Tales: For Young and Old but these are not illustrated with Shaun Tan’s wonderful figures. 


Tohby Riddle’s Unforgotten

I have always liked Tohby Riddle’s work, especially his picture books or graphic novels. He has created some wonderful picture books over the years and he has developed different styles of illustrations to fit his stories.

I loved his sense of humour and the light comic touch in My Uncle’s Donkey and The Great Escape from City Zoo, which I had to buy and read to my young niece and nephews. His comic illustrations in the WordSpy books were fantastic as well as the collections of cartoons in Pink Freud.

He now has a new picture book just published and it is quite different from those I mentioned above. It is however wonderful with illustrations that evoke all sorts of ideas. As with most Allen and Unwin books there are teacher’s notes prepared already for you but I think that the illustrations will mean many different things to all those who read the book.

The was an article recently in The Age but I enjoyed listening to a broadcast from an ABC (Central Victoria) program. You can listen to the ABC’s children’s literature expert Sarah Cox and presenter Ann Jones talk to Tohby Riddle about his new book Unforgotten. In the interview he discusses the technique he used to illustrate the book and some of his ideas.

The book itself has been very popular with our teachers here. The students have not yet had the chance to have a look at it. I thinks that a few of us will be buying our own copies.

Tohby has also created a book trailer, see below, and my very favourite illustrator, Shaun Tan, has been quoted on that site.

‘Reading this book is like being quietly ushered into another dimension by winged strangers, a place beyond the tread of normal earth-bound language. Ephemeral as a feather, timeless as a rock, and as true as both, Unforgotten is a magical experience.’
– Shaun Tan

There is nothing more I can really say except to quote a well-known media celebrity from Melbourne and say “do yourself a favour, and go out and get/read a copy for youself”

Shaun Tan’s Oscar nomination

Meant to post about this when I read it in Thursday’s Age newspaper. My favourite author/illustrator Shaun Tan has another accolade. This time he has an Oscar nomination.  The nomination is for his short animation for The Lost Thing. I wrote a post back in May last year about the short film. If you haven’t already , have a look  the film’s site. The Australian Newspaper also had a brief comment from Shaun about his nomination

If you are interested in more of the Oscar nominations the SBS site offers a complete list of nominations.

I also collected some other videos in Vodpod with that offers a snippet with Shaun Tan on The Lost Thing film which was narrated by Tim Minchin.

The Lost Thing (Shaun Tan) – a new animation

From a post on one of the sites I regularly follow/visit, Fiction Focus (CMIS), comes this heads up about another Shaun Tan experience.

…the short film (15 minutes) of Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing has been completed….it will be screened in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June.

This is more great news from our our multi-award winning author and illustrator.

There was a theatre production (puppets) of The Lost thing in 2004 and this current animation project looks to be just as interesting. There is a great website for The Lost Thing. It contains all sorts of things about the book, the official trailer, a gallery of stills and a very impressive loading graphic   and you can also find teacher’s notes for the work as well

I love the way Shaun Tan encourges/invites all sorts of interaction with his works. The play that was adapted from his book The Arrival was wonderful and he also had a theatrical adaptation of  The Red Tree as well as a musical production with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in July 2008.

He has spoken and written about these collaborative processes in very thoughtful and insightful ways. In Sydney last year Shaun Tan gave the Colin Simpson Memorial Lecture and here is spoke about the using illustration as a narrative device.

Shaun Tan is an amazing illustrator and writer but he is also a very articulate man who is not precious about his writing, in fact he is a very generous storyteller and “ideas” person. I have some young aspiring writers and Shaun Tan is one writer I encourage them to follow.