Books — They’re Everywhere! Part 3

September 25th, 2011 by

When I die, maybe I’ll leave my brain to scientists. Because apparently, my mind is hard-wired to think about children’s books all the time! As I mentioned in my previous posts in this series, I can’t help but see kidlit everywhere — and I can’t help but take pictures to share with you guys!

When I went on vacation recently, my friends and I visited the amazing glass museum in Tacoma, Washington (near Seattle). Right outside the museum, there’s an incredible display of creations by the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly.



I immediately noticed this one, which reminded me of the mechanical creature from Shaun Tan’s story The Lost Thing:

See the resemblance?

THEN I saw this little glass guy, and I was like, “Wait, no… this reminds me of the Lost Thing with its legs!”


Another Lost Thing?

Now I can’t decide! Which one do YOU think looks more like the Lost Thing?

— Karen

During the visit to Tacoma, Karen thought maybe she’d enjoy life as a glass artist. Then she remembered she can’t stand heat!

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An Oscar-Winning Book?

January 30th, 2011 by

Recently, I said that the Newbery Awards are like the Oscars for books. But this time, I’m talking about a book that might actually win an Oscar! How’s that possible? Well, it’s actually a movie that’s based on a book — but it’s closer to the original than the average film adaptation because it’s an animated movie based on a book that’s mainly made up of illustrations, and because the book’s author played a huge part in creating the movie.

The movie is The Lost Thing, and it’s nominated for an Oscar in the animated short film category. The book is also called The Lost Thing, and it’s a picture book by Australian author/illustrator Shaun Tan. In both the book and the film, a boy discovers a strange creature one day while he’s at the beach and tries to find out where it belongs. Sounds simple enough, right? Not exactly Oscar material? Well, it’s not quite as straightforward as that: The creature is gigantic and red, with green tentacles — and yet no one except the boy really pays any attention. And the setting for the story isn’t your ordinary town, but a sort of future world with green skies and crazy amounts of machinery and plumbing. NOW I’ve got your attention, right?

Check out this beautiful illustration from the original book (taken from Shaun Tan’s official website, where you can see even more!):

Illustration from "The Lost Thing" (from

Now see how The Lost Thing comes to life on film in the official movie trailer:

(You can also see some incredible behind-the-scenes sketches and movie stills on Shaun Tan’s site.)

Unfortunately, you probably won’t get a chance to read the book before the Academy Awards next month because up until now, the book has never been published in the United States. But don’t worry — in April, The Lost Thing will be published in America as part of a collection of short stories by Shaun Tan, called Lost and Found.

And if you can’t wait until then, definitely check out Shaun Tan’s other amazing books, which also have gorgeous and bizarre illustrations: The Arrival and Tales from Outer Suburbia.

— Karen

Every year, Karen tries to watch all the Oscar nominees for animated short film. It’s usually the only category where she sees all the movies. Just further proof she forgot to grow up somewhere along the way!

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PS – Full disclosure: I work for the company that publishes Shaun Tan’s books in America, but I don’t work on them at all. Man oh man, how I wish I did!!!!!