Category Archives: Picture Story Books

Picture story books are not just for the young!

Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing – from book to film

lost thing

All fans of the fabulous Australian illustrator, artist and author, Shaun Tan, should make a point of visiting the exhibition presently on show at ACMI in Federation Square in Melbourne. The exhibition gives a detailed account of how Shan Ton.s picture book ‘The lost thing’ was transformed into an Academy Award winning short animated movie.


Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Picture Story Books

Farewell Maurice Sendak

Readers will be saddened to hear of the death of author and illustrator  Maurice Sendak, renowned world-wide for his stories including “Where the wild things are”, “We are all in the dumps with Jack and Guy” and “In the night garden”.

Where the wild things are caused a stir when it was first published, and was banned by many schools who considered the monsters too ‘scary’. Children, however, thought otherwise and the book soon became a best seller – and, co-incidentally, Max a popular name again. In 2009 the book was made into a film directed by Spike Jonze, with much of the filming done at Docklands Studios in Melbourne and in the Victorian countryside.

Sendaks books are never straight-forward, and really urge you to think beyond the illustrations to what lies beneath. His illustrating style is uniquly recognisable. He was not afraid of dark or troubling subject matter.  “I refuse to lie to children,” says Sendak. “I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.”

For more information about Sendak check here. Or his views on the film of Where the wild things are here


Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Book Awards, Picture Story Books

Congratulations Shaun Tan

Popular author and illustrator Shaun Tan is to be congratulated on his nomination for an Academy Award in the category of animated short film.

He has been working on an adaptation of his picture story book  The Lost Thing.

The 15-minute film is one of five to receive nominations for the short animation category which will be announced at The 83rd Academy Awards on February 27.

Tan was born in Fremantle in 1974, and freelanced for some years from a studio in Mount Lawley.

He bagged several international art and writing awards before relocating to Melbourne in 2007.

Woodleigh School wishes Shaun Tan good luck for the awards.


Find out more at the website

Or watch the trailer on youtube

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Awards, Books on Film, Picture Story Books

Hypothetical Book Covers

American artist and designer, Charlie Orr, has hit on the idea of designing book covers for hypothetical books of well-known artists. His latest author is Neil Gaiman, and the title of his non-book is, fittingly, If you read this book the world will end. To see the design for a moving digital cover (ie  a cover which moves), and to listen to the possible first chapter of this ‘book’ go to the Hypothetical Library.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Links, Picture Story Books

Where the wild things are

Do you remember the wonderful Maurice Sendak book Where the wild things are from your childhood? A new movie has been made in Australia of this iconic story and the trailer has just been released.

Check it out here

  Max, the disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own fantastical world, peopled by alarming monsters who take hime away to a magical place. The film combines real life actors with amazing computer graphics to produce Max’s world. We will have to wait until October 2009 for the film’s release!

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Reads, Books on Film, Picture Story Books

The Arrival – Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is one of Australia’s best known and awarded illustrator. In his own words his picture books are “best described as ‘picture books for older readers’ rather than young children, as they deal with relatively complex visual styles and themes, including colonial imperialism, social apathy, the nature of memory and depression.”

His latest book The Arrival deals with people who choose to leave the home they know and love, in search of a better place for their family. It is “is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.” (

The notion of belonging has played a part in his own life, as growing up in Western Australia as  half’-Chinese, along with his awareness of the displacement of aboriginal people, led to his unclear notion of identity and a certain detachment from his roots. The book took a number of years to complete as he clarified how to express this theme of the migrant experience. Starting off life as afairly conventional picture book it eventually morphed into a series of visuals reminiscent of an old family photo album. The absence of any text allows the reader to become one with the migrant ‘hero’ and feel some of his displacement and wonder at the new world he arrives at.

Discover Shan Tan’s homepage and find out more about the man as illustrator, and now animator and film-maker.

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Reads, Picture Story Books, Woodleigh Library