A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Mark Buehner (The Escape of Marvin the Ape, My Life with the Wave).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008). Read Mount Everest and Beyond: Sir Edmond Hillary by Sue Muller Hacking and The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins.
- In 1881, Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to U.S. troops. Read Sitting Bull Remembers by Ann Turner, illustrated by Wendell Minor.
- Itâ€™s Moon Day! In 1968, Apollo 11 was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. Read Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca.
- Itâ€™s also National Lollipop Day. Read Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall; Lady Lollipop by Dick King-Smith, illustrated by Jill Barton; Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives by Ruth Heller; and Amanda Pig and Her Best Friend Lollipop by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger.
Over the last week we have been exploring superb books about our furry friend, the bunny rabbit. This year a book by Shaun Tan, Lost & Found, takes an entirely original look at this beloved creature.
Containing three separate books that were previously unavailable in the United States, Lost & Found presents The Red Tree, Lost & Found, and The Rabbits. The last story was written by Australian writer John Marsden.Â For my money Marsdenâ€™s Tomorrow When the War Began series happens to be among the best dystopian novels written for children, although they have been more popular in Australia than the United States. In The Rabbits, Marsden found inspiration in both Australian and American history, drawing on Allan W. Eckertâ€™s history of Tecumseh, A Sorrow in Our Heart. In this incredibly disquieting story, the rabbits arrive by water and keep coming and coming. They crowd out the original settlers and decimate the landscape. In a desolate ending Marsden asks, â€śWhere is the smell of rain dripping from the gum tree? Where are the great billabongs, the river-swollen lakes, alive with long-legged birds? Who will save us from the rabbits?â€ť The Rabbitsâ€”with its exploration of history, the colonization, and ecologyâ€”is made even more power by Tanâ€™s surreal illustrations. Tan opens the saga with a beautiful spread of long-legged birds, which at the end become small flecks against the dark, heading out from the land. The art becomes darker in palette as the story moves to its sad conclusion.
A great book for discussion for children ages 11-14, Lost & Found was adapted for an animated short film that won Tan an Oscar. With imagery that might well have come from the fevered imagination of Hieronymus Bosch, Tan creates picture books with philosophical, historical, or emotional issues at their core. Each story causes the reader to pause, think about the issues raised, and then go back and pore over the pictures because so much detail has been incorporated in the art.
As I discussed in the essay on The Arrival, IÂ am simply in awe of Shaun Tanâ€™s talent. He is an artistâ€™s artist, who in the twenty-first century is changing our vision of what can be accomplished in a picture book.
Hereâ€™s a page from Lost & Found:
Originally posted July 20, 2011. Updated for .