THE BIRD KING by Shaun Tan

THE BIRD KING

An Artist's Notebook
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 18

KIRKUS REVIEW

From a master of visual mystery, a beguiling gathering of sketches, doodles, portraits and written thoughts about art and creativity.

To set up his gallery, Tan quotes Paul Klee’s definition of “drawing” as “taking a line for a walk,” and then he ruminates on how his ideas and his efforts to express them act on one another. The images themselves range from tiny scribbles to finished pastels or storyboards. Most are figure studies, with an admixture of alien landscapes, mazelike warrens of rooms or sustained imaginative flights, such as a full spread of nautically themed characters labeled “language of the sea.” With rare exceptions, the figures are fantasy creatures sporting beaks, armor or other strange features—but all (even a series of quick studies of pre-Columbian pottery) not only look alive, but display the artist’s distinctive whimsy and innate poignancy. Many, though not all, of the images later appeared in his published works, and most come with discreet, often oblique identifiers: “The thing in the bathroom”; “heart-bell”; “Talk it over in the Bird Room.”

Rewarding territory to explore not just for budding artists or writers, but for daydreamers in general. (media and production notes) (Artist’s sampler/showcase. 6 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-545-46513-7
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012




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