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. 


Shaun Tan’s newest book: Rules of Summer

I have been waiting impatiently for Shaun Tan‘s newest work Rules of Summer (published by Hachette Books.)

An email (from The Little Bookroom) came today reminding me that it is available tomorrow in the bookshops. Of course I did not need to be reminded about availability but it did remind me to forward the email to others on staff and to send out a tweet as well.

Rules of Summer, is a deceptively simple story about two boys, one older and one younger, and the kind of ‘rules’ that might govern any relationship between close friends or siblings. Rules that are often so strange or arbitrary, they seem impossible to understand from the outside. Yet through each exquisite illustration of this nearly wordless narrative, we can enjoy wandering around an emotional landscape that is oddly familiar to us all. (YouTube)

Combining humour and surreal fantasy, Shaun Tan pictures a summer in the lives of two boys. Each spread tells of an event and the lesson learned. By turns, these events become darker and more sinister as the boys push their games further and further. (Hachette)

There are some great supporting videos for the Rules of Summer available on YouTube.

Video 1 was published on 10 June 2013 and Shaun speaks about what Rules of Summer is about and where the ideas came from.

Video 2 was published on 10 Jun 2013. In this video Shaun speaks about how he came up with the theme behind his new book Rules of Summer, available from 8th October 2013.

Video 3  was published on 2 September 2013. Here Shaun explains his drawing process and explores the potential meaning of a particular image from Rules of Summer,

There is more about Rules of Summer on here for extra detail and images.

There is an added bonus this time: There will be a Rules of Summer Exhibition that is open for a brief space of time (3 days)

  • The Venue: Bright Space Gallery, 1st Floor, 8 Martin St, St Kilda. Vic 3182
  • Dates: Friday 25th October – Sunday 27th October 2013
  • Gallery Opening times: 12 – 5pm
  • Price: FREE   If you want to book for group/school bookings please email them

Shaun Tan wins the 2011 ALMA

More exciting news for the Australian book world and especially Shaun Tan. He has been announced as the winner of this year’s ALMA.

 The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally.

The award, which is the world’s largest children’s literature award, was awarded for the 11th time this year. You can read more about it on their website. Their explanation about why Shaun Tan won the award is here. I  love their introduction

A masterly visual storyteller

Shaun Tan is a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age

You can watch the broadcast (in English) of the announcement as well as the presentation to Shaun Tan at  (in Swedish with English subtitles). There is also an article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian

Shaun Tan is the second Australian ALMA winner, the first being Sonya Hartnett in 2008.

And the Oscar goes to…The Lost Thing (Shaun Tan)

How wonderful that Shaun Tan has won the Oscar for The Lost Thing (Category: Best Short Animated Film). The award was shared with his British co-director Andrew Ruhemann.

There is an article about the award in today’s Sydney Morning Herald and a video available of the acceptance speech. I liked the part in the speech where Shaun commented on “the irony of being noticed for a film about not being noticed.”

This is one homepage that will need an update  – from Oscar nominee to winner

ABC News also has a piece with other links to earlier interviews on Artworks (Radio National) and ABC’s Articulate sites.

The School Library Journal also published an interesting interview with Shaun about his film last week.

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.