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4.8 out of 5 stars54
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2006
An illustrator friend gave me this book to read last night, I'd been having a bad couple of days and this beautiful, beautiful book made me cry and feel so much joy at the same time.
The illustration is flawless, using a variety of techniques. I simply cannot recommend this highly enough, if you or a friend of yours has been feeling really down, lost in this jungle, get this book and see that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.
This book will blow you away.
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on 10 September 2005
This book is incredible! The limited use of text and outstanding illustrations that are so thought-provoking, reasonate in your mind long after you have finished lingering over the pages. I, and many colleagues, have used this book in schools with young people (10 years+) and have been amazed at the issues that have been raised from the starting point of even just one picture! Any adult that has since viewed the book has also been full of awe and wonder at the depth of the illustrations. This book is a must for anyone who thinks that picture books are only for the young, beginning readers!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 January 2011
Shaun Tan's "The Red Tree" is a sparely scripted book with incredible paintings telling the story of depression and how a person copes with it, from waking up and struggling to get out of bed, to finding the energy to walk to work as well as constantly battling the negative thoughts in your head.

One of the most haunting images in the book is of an ordinary street scene rendered nightmarish by a giant fish with a gaping mouth and bleeding eyes hovering above the main character. It's a more frightening rendering of the traditional metaphor of depression as the "black dog".

The artwork is varied and beautiful on every page with Tan's imagination lending itself enormously well to simple lines like "sometimes you just don't know what you are supposed to do" followed by an elaborate stage filled with grotesques and strange creatures surrounding the main character doing unfathomable things dressed up as a magician while playing to a mysterious audience of hats!

It's a supremely creative book dealing with everyday questions that we never answer. Profundities manifested in paintings. The human condition told as a picture book.

The book is labelled as "children's"which I feel is a mistake as it would dissuade some adults from picking it up for themselves as it's a book that people of all ages can get something from.

Shaun Tan has crafted a wonderful book about a difficult subject and it is something to be enjoyed and seen by all. Ultimately uplifting, "The Red Tree" won't necessarily help people with depression but might help people who don't go through it to gain a perspective on it that they might not have had before.

The book's worth picking up for the sublime paintings alone."The Red Tree" is a great work by a remarkable artist.
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on 17 October 2002
This is one of my favourite books. Not only are the illustrations a masterpiece in themselves, but the text is hauntingly beautiful. Makes a special gift for friends overcoming difficult periods in their lives - it made my day when I received it. An unforgettable treasure for all ages.
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on 23 November 2011
People like me, of a certain age and from a literary educational background, are perhaps less familiar with the power of certain kinds of graphic novels and stories, outside children's books, so I don't pretend any special expertise.
As the rave reviews tell us, this is a children's book and an adult's book. Let's chuck a word at Mr Tan that gets wearingly overused: there is real genius in his work, he has a startling imagination powerfully realised. Also, Brits might like to enjoy knowing that his books on Amazon uk are around half the price they are in the bookshops of his native city- sad but true- so stock up, good people, how often do we find a true original that can teach and delight all ages? Yup, genius.
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on 31 December 2003
This a beautiful piece of work, the artwork is masterful and coupled with a wonderful, moving story. The Red Tree is classed as a childrens book, and while I can see how it would appeal to children, I think the meaning of the story is something most adults can relate to, especially if they are going through a difficult time or just having a bad day. I love this book, Shaun Tan has created a masterpiece.
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on 10 March 2010
This book is visually stunning. The author's artistic background leaps out from every page. I was given this book to use with a year 6 talking partners group. The theme of the book on first viewing is quite dark and depressing but it addresses many issues faced by young people without dressing them up with fluffy smaltz. The underlying thread of the story though is one of hope and possibility (symbolised by the red leaf on each page)

I am really looking forward to reading this book with the children. Each time I look through the illustrations, I discover something new and find myself questioning what it means
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on 16 June 2008
This is a brilliant book.

Not an expected subject to tackle in a children's book, but the bad feelings of depression, anxiety and confusion that we all encounter in life to some degree are beautifully depicted, and just when you think the sadness will overwhelm you, the red tree that grows is sweetly uplifting and I defy you not to shed a tear.

The most original, deep and beautifully executed picture book I've seen.
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on 24 December 2009
This book is an undiscovered gem. It has profound themes of depression and hope and can be used to help children and adults alike to find a way through painful times if used sensitively.
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on 8 June 2009
A book by price-winner Shaun Tan. It is is an impressive book. Because of the high quality of the drawings. You have to 'read' the drawings several times, before you have discovered all the details Tan has put in. It is also an impressive book because of the story. Is is a simple story but, especially in hard times, it really lifts you up. My advice: buy this book and enjoy it!
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