by Shaun Tan
Cover Artist: Shaun Tan
Review by Gayle Surrette
Arthur A. Levine Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780439895293
Date: 01 October 2007 List Price $19.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Shaun Tan has done something amazing, he's created a picture book for all ages. The Arrival has no words at all, only pictures. The book's images are all sepia tones and look as if you're going through an old family album. The title sets you up to make your own story from what you see as you turn the pages. I've read through the book several times and each time, I tell myself a slightly different story but the basic thread is always the same -- a man leaves his wife and daughter, travels to a new country, finds an apartment, gets a job, and send for his family to join him. Along the way he makes some friends and learns their stories.
Every drawing, whether tiny or full page is beautifully detailed. The shading and texture add to the emotional content of the image. It's like peeking into someone's life with the sound off. Since the man has to learn a language and fit into a new life, so do we, the reader, have to learn to use the clues in the images to understand what is happening.
It's a book for the entire family. Even the youngest child can make up the story from the pictures and that story can change and gain depth depending on who is 'reading' the story. It's a lovely work and and interesting concept -- we all get to use our native creativity to tell ourselves the story.