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The Lost Thing Hardcover – November 30, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up–Tan's collage artwork for this picture book is full of the wonderfully strange. When a humungous "lost thing" at the beach catches the eye of a boy previously occupied with his bottle-cap collection, no one else seems to notice–not even his parents, although it takes up a good part of their living space when he brings it home. The boy sets off to find a place for the thing within an industrial landscape awash in gray matter–pipes, gears, and a few concrete structures. On the periphery of the central illustrations are postcards, road signs, words and diagrams from an engineering textbook, and faux governmentflierssuch as the one from "The Federal Department of Odds & Ends," where the motto is "sweepus underumcarpetae." Readers are bound to become adept perceivers as they move through the book and delight in discovering these exterior notes. Tan's illustrations offer playful tributes that could serve as introductions to such artists as Miró, Duchamp, Dalí, Kandinski, Hopper, John Brack, and Jeffrey Smart. This book asks important questions: What does it mean to see things differently? What is important to notice? The lost thing suggests that what can not be fit neatly into a box has great potential to wake us (if we pay attention) and help us see the world anew. Tan is a singular talent.–Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Shaun Tan has an outstanding reputation for his illustrative work. He won the Crichton Award for Book Illustration (The Viewer) in 1995. His collaborative effort with John Marsden, The Rabbits was named CBC Picture Book of the Year in 1999. Memorial was his third picture book. He has been a leading science-fiction illustrator in Australia for several years; with recognition including the Illustrators of the Future Award (1991) and the Australian National Science Fiction Best Artist Award (1995, 1996). He contributes regular political cartoons to the Western Review and is the art editor and a regular contributor to Eidelon magazine. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simply Read Books; First Edition edition (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894965108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894965101
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is Tales from Outer Suburbia.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is difficult to classify this superb book. It is classified as a children's book, but it will have appeal to all ages. To a certain extent it reminds me of the great works of art by Graeme Base and John Sceszka and Lane Smith, but again it is different. The imagies are almost surreal - certainly reminiscent of Dali on an odd day.

A simple tale, without a moral? Perhaps so, perhaps not - I like to think it is a comment on all we have lost, and found, and let go again.

The illustrations are magnificent, quirky and engaging, and you notice different things with each reading (or viewing?). Our hero is a simple soul, the lost thing also simple and yet remarkably complex. My favourite part is where our hero gives it something to eat once he has discovered what it likes, and the food he is offering it is christmas decorations!

It is an absolutely delightful book. Share it with your children, or your partner, or your best friend. Or keep it for yourself. It isn't a book that is easy to classify, but it is definitely a keeper.

I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
In today's world, we are bombarded everyday with advertisement and hyperbole to get us to buy products and services. As a result of all this exaggeration, it is extremely difficult to find something that actually lives up to all it's credits.

However, "The Lost Thing" was one of these uncommon books.It is advertised as a kid's book, and yet, I think that it would be much more enjoyable for an older audience.

We have already seen, from Shaun T's "The Red Tree" that the author has incredible artistic talent, especially in painting. In this book, he uses this talent to an amazing degree to create a story and a world unique to the story.

The urban setting of Suburbia is filled with details -which are essential for a good story, novel or picture-book. From the everyday people to the shop windows, Suburbia is a richly imagined world where people seem to have reached their peak - identical, sophisticated in technology but simple in emotion. They have created an ordered, mechanical world, but one day a boy finds a thing on the beach, unlike anything else in the world. He strives to find it a place to live, and in doing so travels through the nooks and crannies of Suburbia until he finds a place for the thing.

One of the reasons why I was at first apprehensive about buying this book was because, quite simply, it was a picture book. I could finish it in no time at all - was it really worth my money? Well, as a matter of fact, I reread it about twice a week for the next half-year. I've probably got just as much time and enjoyment peering at all the details than from any novel. Whenever feeling depressed, tired or upset, I could always pull my head under this blanket of a book and disappear for a few minutes, emerging later with a warm feeling in my heart.
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Format: Hardcover
The lost thing is about isolation and indifference. The hero of the story is a bottle-top collector that suddenly finds a very interesting thing and decides to help it find its place. It makes funny of our busy and boring day-to-day life, of how indifferent we are to what happens around us. I laugh aloud every time I read the book; Shaun's humor is so unique!

The story is told in a very special way, with lots of details in the graphics that must be observed carefully. The drawings are just wonderful; Shaun tan mixes the grey and yellow of the cities and adds a touch of color in the lost things. I believe that the book is a great adventure to children and adults alike, every reading brings new discoveries.

As the sub-title of the books reads: "A tale for those who have more important things to pay attention to".
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Format: Hardcover
The Lost Thing is a picturebook about a young boy who, when scavenging for bottle-top caps for his collection, discovers a freakish creature - bizarre in the extreme, and so unusual that no one but him can seem to notice it. So it's up to him to find a place where the "Lost Thing" belongs. The simple story is brilliantly brought to life with Age of Steam-style artwork, offering unforgettable illustrations of the young man and his Thing lost amid the maze of a big city and endless diagrams. A truly splendid visual treat combined with a heartwarming story. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered Shaun Tan in my small town local library. I live in a rural farming community in Upstate NY. I found his book The Viewer and took it home. It wasn't long before I purchased my own copy of The Viewer and then went out to seek what else I could find that Shaun Tan had a hand in. I now own Memorial, The Red Leaf, The Viewer, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits. I can sit for hours and look at these books. The Viewer invites me into the illustrations as if it was the actual viewer to the boy in the story. Shaun Tan has buried treasures hidden throughout. I have held 12 year old boys entranced when reading it to them.As for The Lost Thing, it is another of his marvelous books with illustrations that beg to be poured over and a text that begs to be pondered. I have shared this book and the others with children and adults. All of them become involved in the books.
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