If a picture is worth a thousand words, Shaun Tan would have won the lottery with his new book! Following the success of Tan’s 2007 hit, The Arrival, he is sure to awe fan with “Tales from Outer Suburbia.” And all without a single wizard, no spells or incantations and very few words. This collection of fifteen seemingly random illustrations, doodles and extravagant collages is something beautiful, emotionally riveting and morally uplifting…for those who take a moment, slow down and genuinely peruse the pages. With stories like “Grandpa’s Journey,“ “missiles in the backyard” and “the buffalo sitting in a vacant lot,“ the images express what at first appears erratic and silly, but looking deeper reveals that there is a great deal hidden in plain sight. The true genius is how the book conveys something different to each individual that reads it. What the person takes away from this reading experience may well depend on what they brought with them when they opened the book. Images, both alluring and hauntingly serious combine to create a stunning, incredibly unique book.
I would definitely reserve this particular selection for those 12+, as younger kids may be confused by the imagery. This is a wonderful book to share with your child – the added guidance and opportunity to explain various points, not to mention the quality time together, are priceless. And hearing your child’s interpretation of the scenes is often humorous, revealing and quite touching. As always parents should utilize their own judgment, when choosing material, because you know your child better than anyone.
3Rs Reading Den