The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

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Synopsis

When a child awakens with dark leaves drifting into her bedroom, she feels that "sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to, and things go from bad to worse." Feelings too complex for words are rendered into an imaginary landscape where the child wanders, oblivious to the glimmer of promise in the shape of a tiny red leaf. Everything seems hopeless until the child returns to her room and sees the red tree. At that perfect moment of beauty and purity, the child smiles and her world stirs anew.

Shaun Tan's illustrations are remarkable for the way they combine and react upon each other. He creates an otherworldly labyinth of visual ideas joined with the familiar immediacy of the little child, and condenses them into scenes of extraordinary depth and insight. Every child will appreciate the book's life-affirming message but it will be equally successful with all readers. With sensitivity and wonder, the evocative images in The Red Tree open a window to our inexplicable emotions and tell a story about the power of hope, renewal and inspiration.

 

About Shaun Tan

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Award-winning artist and author Shaun Tan has achieved international recognition for his work, including the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award for this book, an Honor Book Award for Memorial (with G. Crew) and The Lost Thing, an APA Design Award, an Honorable Mention at the Bologna Book Fair, three Aurealis Awards, and Spectrum Gold and Silver Awards. In 2001 he was named best artist at the World Fantasy Awards in Montreal. A graduate of the University of Washington in 1995, with honors in fine arts and English literature, he lives in Perth, Australia.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by Lothian Books. 32 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Red Tree

Kirkus Reviews

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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.

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Publishers Weekly

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When the girl returns home, she sees a delicate red sprout growing out of her floor ("but suddenly there it is/ right in front of you/ bright and vivid/ quietly waiting"), and on the final page, she lifts her head and smiles up at a glorious flame-red tree, in the shape of a dandelion puff ("just...

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Reader Rating for The Red Tree
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