Photo credit:  Jason South

                            Photo credit: Jason South

Shaun Tan

Hello, it's been a while since my previous 'Heroes' blog, I've been burning the midnight oil busily producing some illustrations for an exciting project which I'll write about in the near future, watch this space!  

Today I'm writing about the wonderful work of the Australian illustrator Shaun Tan. Sometimes a book, a song, a film or whatever it might be can appear seemingly out of nowhere and help us to look at the world and our place in it a little differently, for me one of those occasions was brought about by the discovery of The Red Tree  by Shaun Tan.

Children's books allow readers young and old an opportunity to stretch their imaginations, to run wild, to be silly, to visit a world populated by big friendly giants, to see what a bogeyman does for a living or to watch a big gloopy alien attempt to press a grundledorfer (we have Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell to thank for the last one!).  Sometimes children's books also show us that life isn't always shiny and happy, hello The Red Tree  .

I mentioned in a previous blog that Tove Jansson had a wonderful way of writing very quietly about life's challenging periods, she wrote with great charm, subtlety and wisdom. For me The Red Tree  has a similar quietness. The illustrations are out of this world, surreal, a little scary and beautiful. The Red Tree explains that life can be difficult with many thoughts and feelings to deal with but hang on in there, and you'll find something worthwhile. 

I love the work of Shaun Tan, from The Arrival   and The Lost Thing to The Rabbits , they're all bloomin lovely. Another author/illustrator I'd like to shake hands with and thank. I'm happy just to share half a surname with him!

I also recommend the fantastic Oscar winning animation of his book The Lost thing , it's splendid.



                         Image from ' The Red Tree'  by Shaun Tan

                         Image from 'The Red Tree' by Shaun Tan