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Tales from Outer Suburbia [Hardcover]

Shaun Tan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2009
Do you remember the water buffalo at the end of our street, or the deep-sea diver we found near the underpass? Do you know why dogs bark in the middle of the night?A new picture book from the international award-winning illustrator Shaun Tan, "Tales from Outer Suburbia" is a unique and inspiring collection of original stories and illustrations.Shaun Tan, creator of "The Arrival", "The Lost Thing" and "The Red Tree", reveals the quiet mysteries of everyday life: homemade pets, dangerous weddings, and secret rooms filled with darkness and delight!

Frequently Bought Together

Tales from Outer Suburbia + The Arrival + Lost Thing
Price For All Three: £27.01

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  • The Arrival £10.49
  • Lost Thing £7.43

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 98 pages
  • Publisher: Templar Publishing; 1st edition (1 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840113138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840113136
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High doses of surrealism in this book 29 Mar 2009
Length: 0:18 Mins
I bought this book thinking it was an art book, but it's not. Tales From Outer Suburbia is more of an illustrated story book containing 15 short fantasy stories. And it's a children's book, but more for those above 12 year old because some of the stories are, well, very surreal. It's the surrealism of the illustrations that really caught my attention.

Shawn Tan has a knack of storytelling mixing illustrations and words. He would sometimes end a story arc with a two page illustration to bring the story in full effect. For example, in the story called Grandpa's Story, there will be pages of single panels to show his Scavenger Hunt journey before he can marry. In another story Distant Rain, it was told in the form of a newspaper print.

The stories are really surreal and imaginative. Two things come to my mind when reading are Roald Dahl and Big Fish the movie. All great works of surrealism. Anyone who likes the two should like this book.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book 5 Jun 2009
THis is really a children's book, but with a difference, the tales all have a twist, not always a happy or predictable ending, eg the children who walk so far they really do reach the end of the world. But the illustrations are fantastic and quirky
Its a book to treasure - and keep away from the children !
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 26 Jan 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Welcome to the suburbs of Australia as seen through the eyes of author Shaun Tan. This collection of fifteen stories is creatively written and illustrated. A comment on the last page mentions that the book was created with the assistance of "the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body."

Not only are readers presented with tales inspired by humor and often bizarre events, but they are also treated to unique, eye-catching artwork with each story. One story, titled "Stick Figures," asks readers to imagine twig-like creatures that roam the neighborhoods. Their stick bodies and sod heads are magical and mysterious.

"Eric" is a foreign exchange student like no other you can imagine. His view of our world and the things he takes from it will make readers look more closely at the little things in their everyday lives.

"Distant Rain" is created on bits and scraps of paper. It presents the idea that all the snippets, phrases, and sound bytes people encounter daily might all blend together in a massive ball like bits and pieces of poetry. "A vast accumulation of papery bits that ultimately takes to the air, levitating by the sheer force of so much unspoken emotion" will have readers appreciating the written and spoken word on a whole new level.

My favorite of the stories is "Alert but Not Alarmed." Here readers are asked to visualize a neighborhood where every backyard includes a huge "intercontinental ballistic missile." Placed there by the government, these missiles are at the ready to protect the neighborhoods from harm. As the years go by and the missiles remain unfired, people begin to develop their own unique ways to utilize each missile.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab bedtime book! 9 Oct 2011
By wendy
I read this to my eight-year old before bed. The stories are short enough for bed-time, and give us both plenty to talk and think about. The pictures are wonderful. The stories approach subjects you don't really know how to talk about, like animal cruelty, loneliness and discrimination. Things that exist in our world, and a child this age is beggining to notice, and will be soon forming their own views on. The stories help you to bring up the subject, and you get your child's thoughts on them. Each story has a positive and happy ending. Some of the stories have been written totally as a child of eight or nine would understand. They are all magical and fascinating and have definately helped my eight-year old to look at things differently. The first of Shaun Tan's books we read, Eric, lead us to get the above, Tales from Outer Suburbia. If you want to provoke conversations with your kids, I would say buy this book, it is worth every penny. It might help you to instill good morals and principles. It would be hard going for kids below age seven I would say, and ideal up to eleven or twelve. I am forty and I love this book myself, and as I said above, the drawings are amazing. Top quality kids book, can't fault it. All of Shaun Tan's books are fantastic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was already a Shaun Tan fan thanks to the beautiful 'The Red Tree', so was very much drawn to this book hoping it would be in a similar vein. I was not disappointed. The illustrations, as always, are beautiful, subtle, haunting and enchanting all at once, but for me it is the poignancy of the stories that lingers. It's that incredible balance of simplicity and complexity all at once. The things left unsaid. The warm little feelings left behind as small and perfect as the parting gifts in 'Eric'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Shaun Tan's unique stories coupled with innovative, detailed and gorgeous illustrations make this book truly one of its kind. I poured over the detail for hours and still haven't exhausted the depth of this collection. I already know of several friends for whom I plan to buy this book for birthday presents.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
This book is fabulous. I'm a teacher and use it so much in my class as a discussion point and for inspiration for writing. The stories are beautiful, the pictures even more so.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thoughtful book
Perhaps not so good for children as there isn't much of that simple excitement they crave, but excellent for thoughtful adults :)
Highly recommended.
Published 9 months ago by Janis Jansons
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic condition
Although this book is not the novel I expected (some of the stories are just over a page in length), the stories are challenging for KS2 none the less.
Published 14 months ago by Clara Rawlings
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming Tales
I've read it in one sitting, ok it's not that big, but even though, you can't put it aside! Poetry for your eyes and your heart!!
Published 21 months ago by Agathi K. Darlasi
5.0 out of 5 stars I know you think you saw him first, but I'm pretty sure it was me...
Page 1. A Man stands on a suburban street holding a hosepipe. Floating down the street is a woman in a boat. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Shaun Tan
A great collection of writing, beautiful illustrations and fantastical ideas from Shaun Tan.

For people of all ages who like a slightly different slant on the world!
Published on 29 Dec 2011 by Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
Absolutely marvellous book - Tan shows his usual gift for finding the sublime in the mundane. Can't recommend it enough.
Published on 19 Mar 2011 by Faye
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
One of my newly found favourite illustrators, dazzling imagination, perfect technique. For art lovers who still have the eyes of a child.
Published on 8 May 2010 by S. G. Panizo
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, whimsical, thought-provoking... only wish it were longer!
Beautiful illustrations and intriguing stories... the sort of book that you spend much more time mulling over than actually reading!
Published on 26 Feb 2010 by Jessica Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
If you are looking for something that is a little bit different I would thoroughly recommend this book. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2010 by A. Chang
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