Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival and Tales From Outer Suburbia, brings us another visual, inventive, and meaningful book. Lost & Found: Three includes three short stories titled “The Red Tree,” “The Lost Thing,” and “The Rabbits,” each with a different theme; the stories had been published in Australia but will now be in available in the U.S. If this book were out right now, I would go and purchases it so that I can have a copy in my personal library.
“The Red Tree” is probably my favorite of the three because of the universality of the profound, emotional illustrations and message. It follows a young girl through her journey during a bad day and ends with her realizing that there is joy, even at the end of a rough day. The story is told in such a way that young children will be able to relate; additionally, I think it would be a helpful story to read aloud with a child when he/she is having a bad day. When I own this book I foresee reading this story when I need a little pick-me-up and reminder that I am not alone and things get better.
The second story is “The Lost Thing,” a story about a young man who finds a “lost thing” that he can’t really name or find a home for. After searching and seeking help (to no avail) he finds a home for the lost thing. This is a dynamic story about discovery, reaching out to others, and finding one’s place. Shaun Tan, along with co-director Andrew Ruhemann, created a short animated film for “The Lost Thing” that won a 2011 Academy Award for the Best Animated Short Film! You can see the trailer and find more information about the film at: http://www.thelostthing.com/.
The final story is “The Rabbits;” it follows the progression of rabbits moving in and inhabiting another’s land. I think there are a lot of great social messages in this story as well as beautiful and intricate illustrations.
Overall, the messages and illustrations in all the stories are universally adaptable to all ages and interests. I would highly recommend this book and recommend sharing it with others (I’ve already read “The Red Tree” to multiple people, including my dad, just because I enjoy it so much).
Congrats to Shaun Tan on his Oscar and Happy Reading!