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The Lost Thing - Shaun Tan


Published: July 2000
For Ages: 9 - 15 years old
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RRP $28.99

A boy finds a lost 'thing' on the beach where he's scavenging for his bottle top collection. The thing is a large, freakish creature but no one except him really notices it. A quirky tale about finding your place in the world.

A boy discovers a bizarre-looking creature while out collecting bottle-tops at a beach. Having guessed that it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but the problem is met with indifference by everyone else, who barely notice its presence. Each is unhelpful in their own way; strangers, friends, parents are all unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to day-to-day life. In spite of his better judgement, the boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, and attempts to find out where it belongs.

About The Author

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne. Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree , The Lost Thing , and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival , have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E . His short film, The Lost Thing (based on his book), will be released on DVD in November 2010 with Madman Entertainment.

A familiar plot gets a novel setting and cast in Tan's first solo outing. A young narrator recalls finding a lost item on the beach one day. After failing to identify its original owners, or to secure parental permission to keep it, he nearly consigns it to the tender mercies of the Federal Department of Odds and Ends (Motto: "sweepus underum carpetae"), before discovering an altogether better home. The fact that the "item" looks like an octopus and a huge hermit crab living together in a giant red teapot is but one of many visual twists here. Lad and Thing wander through a city of bare concrete walls and drab, stiffly oblivious adults-all dingily lit and placed against full-bleed collages composed of hundreds of small, clipped swatches of printed text and quirky newspaper ads. At last the child ushers his companion through an out-of-the-way door to a land where similarly surreal creatures cavort, and returns to sorting his bottle-top collection. Like David Christiana's art, or Colin Thompson's, the mix of familiarity and strangeness here will pull readers into a tantalizingly different world. (Picture book. 6-9) (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780734400741
ISBN-10: 0734400748
Audience: Children
For Ages: 9 - 15 years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 32
Published: July 2000
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Dimensions (cm): 30.0 x 25.9  x 0.9
Weight (kg): 0.46