Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: The Arrival ~ (a graphic novel) by Shaun Tan



A review by Shellie for: The Arrival ~ (a wordless novel) by Shaun Tan

With realistic and lovely pictures, done in shades of sepia and greys, this graphic novel - without words – is a speculative representation of the immigrant experience.

About: This is a graphic novel told only in shaded colorless pictures, with contrasting elements colored in cool for darker aspects of the journey and warm for happier. It is a book for everyone but especially children; it tells of the many difficulties, complications, and of course the joys of the universal experience when immigrating from one country to another. With realistic pictures contrasted with fantastical images it mixes the familiar with the alien, which is a metaphor for the immigrant experience. It is realistic yet speculative in nature.

Thoughts:  This book has gorgeous drawings showing the main characters experiencing a range of emotions when arriving in a place completely different from their known home. It shows the difficulties of trying to communicate without knowledge of the new language, the sorrow felt when separated from family members, and of course the inevitable fear of the unknown. With images which are fantastical it is easy for a young person to relate to the “alien” feel when arriving in a different country.

Apparently, the author spent 5 years researching the book in his attempt to show the “universality of the immigrant experience”. With its pictures it “translates” for the reader in a way that is understood without language; It’s the first book I can remember “reading” that does not have words. With its talented artist/author, I recommend it highly for use in classrooms as well as homes, where an explanation is needed for around experiencing different cultures. This is a lovely and important book which I liked a lot; I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Amazon purchasing links for US/UK/Canada; Ages 9-12; 128 pages; Arthur A. Levine Books (October 1, 2007)

The Arrival was borrowed from our local library. We love ours, support yours!

It will be include in the Graphics Novel Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge, The Basics Challenge, and New Author Challenge.

Thanks for reading.


Linda said...

Sounds fantastic. I want to read more graphic novels next year so I'll keep this on my list!

David Macaulay said...

always good to catch up with your reviews but how do you get time to read them all, well not the graphic novels, obviously

Unknown said...

Linda -
I think you will enjoy this. Its been very popular with goodread's "friends".

I will be posting about a few GN challenges soon, so perhaps you will want to join in? :)

It would be more fun for me if you did.

David -
I read a little over a book per week. Generally on the weekends and evenings. As for some graphic novels they can take more time than you would imagine at first. Like one that I heard of called Blankets.... it is apparently a tome.

As for these crammed reviews - I am spamming everyone with - this is because I have challenges to fulfill and have put them off till the last minute. *guilty grin*

There are some book bloggers who read over 20 books per month - and they have kids... not sure how that works???? I think one listens to audio books while

Jenny said...

Wow, I had no idea he'd done so many years of research for this book -- it came out beautiful, so it was well worth it, I expect.

Unknown said...

Jenny -
I was amazed too...
I can't remember where I read that it took five years of research but I do know he spend a lot of time trying to get the experience right. Which he did do a really wonderful job on.

This would be a perfect book for biligual teachers and second language learner classrooms.

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