By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: July 22, 2009
by Shaun Tan
Reading level: 12+
Hardcover: 98 pages
Publisher: Templar Publishing (March 2, 2009)
What to expect: Suburbian life, Australia, Short stories, Fiction
A poetic look at human nature through 15 imaginative and abstract tales that create a mysterious, yet philosophical, world.
So profoundly intertwined are the text and illustrations that you could not have one without the other. Tan’s wonderous artwork is diverse — he has included paintings, pen and ink illustrations, and collages; he has used black-and white, and full-color — it’s hard not to get lost in each picture. If this book were ice-cream, every tale would be considered a different flavor; the adventurous, the insidious, and the sharp, will delight in every flavor. Strange happenings occur in everyday suburbia: surprise gifts are found in the pantry, joy is found in the unexpected, love and relationships are proven to survive with some hard work, we discover what comes of abandoned poetry, and we learn of great uses for intercontinental ballistic missiles (one of my favorite tales). Tales From Outer Suburbia is emotionally connected with peerless subtlety; children will be enlightened through each experience and left with an open mind. Adults who read along with their children are offered the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences. Magical, bizarre, and brilliant!
Publisher’s synopsis: An exchange student who’s really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says… These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan’s many fans will love.
You may also enjoy: Shaun Tan’s bestselling The Arrival.