THE RED TREE by Shaun Tan


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
Email this review


Tan, who won the Best Artist Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2001, creates an unusual work for the very young that illuminates a dark side too often ignored or unacknowledged in children. A little red-haired girl wakens in her room one morning, “sometimes the day begins / with nothing to look forward to / and things go from bad to worse” Dry leaves that look like spiders are falling in her room, and in the gloomy outside, a huge fish looms over her head. There’s a whole page of “sometimes you wait” as we see her counting aimlessly on a surface that becomes a snail’s shell. As she wonders, and wanders, the world is very big and complicated. She returns to her room at the end of the day, and the small red leaf framed above her bed sprouts so that on the floor of her room, a red tree appears. Her idea? Her self? Her dreams? Who knows? And it doesn’t matter. The images are obsessively detailed and full of surreal juxtapositions, and the child, who appears in a tiny boat, trapped in a bottle, and in various Bosch-inspired landscapes, lifts her head and smiles only on the last page, when she sees that flame-colored tree. An imaginative, sad, and ultimately uplifting tale of very few words and extraordinary images. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 25th, 2003
ISBN: 0-9688768-3-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Simply Read
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2003


ChildrenTHE SINGING BONES by Shaun Tan
by Shaun Tan
ChildrenRULES OF SUMMER by Shaun Tan
by Shaun Tan
ChildrenTHE BIRD KING by Shaun Tan
by Shaun Tan


ChildrenHOUSES FLOATING HOME by Einar Turkowski
by Einar Turkowski
ChildrenBRILLIANT by Roddy Doyle
by Roddy Doyle
ChildrenBEING EDIE IS HARD TODAY by Ben Brashares
by Ben Brashares