The Red Tree

by Shaun Tan

ISBN: 0968876838

Words like “beautiful” and “haunting” get thrown around all the time when people talk about images, talk about stories they aren’t sure how to talk about. And what do they mean?

For this book, “beautiful” means paintings and collages that are intricate, surprising, imaginative, and make me want to keep looking at them, to run my fingers over the pages as I take a closer look. “Haunting”: one of the dictionary definitions is “to be continually present in; pervade” and I’d say the book has that quality about it: I must have read through it three times now, and I’ve been thinking about it for a fair chunk of the rest of my time. And it has only been in the house since yesterday.

This is dark for a children’s book, if you want to call it that. (It is a picture book, and probably will be shelved there in the bookstore, but it should appeal to a much wider audience.) Hope haunts it, though, and that makes it an important book for children: they need to know, to be reminded in stories the way adults do, that you can recognize fear and unhappiness and that those conditions don’t need to last forever, even though it feels that way sometimes.

This is great; go look for it at a bookstore, open it and find a world you will most likely want to take home, whether you have a kid living with you or not.

7 thoughts on “The Red Tree

  1. all books have emotion had i feel Tan has used many techniques to symbolies wat life is all about that there is no point runing away from reality and being someone else. When the little girl goes out and trys to find happniess all she finds is trouble and misery,The words and pictures are both on intellectual and emotional levels that living in misery is waiting for hope. When she goes home she finds happiness. Young children would understand this and its important that they learn from all differnt angles of life.

  2. this is an absolutly inspiring book. i have studied its pictures, imagined the feeling, and related to all aspects of the poetry. i believe it is a book to be read and cherished by all, not only children

  3. it’s an amazing picture book im studying it for one of my classes at school and i was wondering if anyone had any pictures of the images from inside the book… i have the book but i dont have a scanner it would be a big help if someoone could tell me where to find them… if anyones could you please email me

    thank you

  4. This is an awesome book that enlightens the world and helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel is always ther and just when you need it help will be tthere. THe illistrations are beautiful too

  5. It is so lovely book. It expains emotions so nicely. We are learning and discussing about this book in my class. It is great book for kids of any ages. I am so lucky to read this book. It makes me think about the girl. It tells me there is no point running from your life. enjoy the beautiful moments!!!!!!!!!!

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