Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan Kirkus Star

THE ARRIVAL

By Shaun Tan (Author) , Shaun Tan (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-439-89529-3
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

An astonishing wordless graphic novel blends historical imagery with science-fiction elements to depict—brilliantly—the journey of an immigrant man from his terror-beset land of origin to a new, more peaceful home. Sepia-toned panels and turn-of-the-last-century dress and architecture seem to place readers in familiar territory—but fantastical images, including monumental cities, various bizarre forms of air transport and distinctly alien animals serve to unsettle both protagonist and readers, plunging the latter into the unsettling and often terrifying experience of being alone in a new land. Perhaps the most ingenious touch is the use of a newly created alien alphabet printed everywhere—on signs, official papers, maps, etc.—which renders the literate entirely helpless. Frightening this new land may be, but there are friends everywhere, from the other immigrants who help the protagonist and tell their own tales of escape from oppression, war and fear to the whimsical beastie who attaches itself to him as his pet. Small panels move the story along; full- and double-page spreads provide dazzling panoramas. It’s an unashamed paean to the immigrant’s spirit, tenacity and guts, perfectly crafted for maximum effect. (Graphic novel. 10+)