Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1676
A truly beautiful book
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
In this wordless graphic novel from Shaun Tan, you are swept along on a journey that many have gone on before moving to a new, foreign place in order to better yourself (and provide for your family). The drawings are wonderfully detailed and evocative, with a kind of magical realism to them. This isnt exactly our world though there are details that are reminiscent of Ellis Island in New York City but we can easily relate to it.

The story progresses subtly along as a man says goodbye to his family and boards a steamship. Hes off to a strange and distant land, where he meets curious individuals and struggles along in isolation. Small details tell a rich story and we come to appreciate the small joys in the mans life. Its really amazing how much emotion Tan conveys in his images.

This is a really beautiful novel, though I have a hard time putting a recommended age group on it. The publisher officially says ages 3 5 in the press release that accompanied the book, but I cant quite picture these quiet but memorable pictures holding the attention of a 3 year old for long. Certainly, it is wordless; a story told entirely by pictures. But this is really more of an art book. The sepia toned illustrations are much more likely to hold the interest of older readers than younger ones.

In fact, Id say this book would be best received by older teens (especially those with an interest in art) and adults. While I could see a parent flipping through this with a child, or even a child making up stories themselves to go along with the pictures, I really think older readers will appreciate this more.
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