Lost & Found by Shaun Tan

lost and foundBibliographic Information:

Tan, S., & Marsden, J. (2011). Lost & found. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books. (978-0545229241)


  • The red tree
  • The lost thing
  • The rabbits / words by John Marsden.

Plot Summary:

Shaun Tan includes three very powerful stories into one book.

Critical Evaluation:

Shaun explains that although his books can be described as picture book, “they are not created with children in mind, but rather a general audience. I see each book as an experiment in visual and written narrative” (Picture books).

On his site, Shaun has provided a beautiful explanation about many of his stories and includes some pictures.

The Red Tree is a story without words. The images tell the story and allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. As he worked on the story, he found that he was focusing on the negative feelings of depression and loneliness. In the end, the girl does have a sense of hope as a tiny red seedling starts growing in the middle of her bedroom floor.

This is a powerful story that is representative of the feelings many teenagers struggle with. It is not unusual for teenagers to have difficulty verbalizing feelings that something is wrong. The book can help them describe the feelings they may have.

The Long Thing was made into a short movie (http://www.thelostthing.com/ ) It is the story of a boy who finds an odd creature. He thinks it must be lost so he tries, without success, to find where it belongs.

The Rabbits, written by John Marsden, is an allegorical fable about colonization.

Reader’s Annotation:

Art can speak to the heart and the mind. Lost & Found tells three very powerful stories that will not be soon forgotten.

Information About the Author:

Shaun Tan grew up in Perth, Western Australia. He was always drawing in school so he took Fine Arts in university and graduated with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature.

Shaun started drawing pictures for stories as a teenager and is now known for his books that deal with social and political subjects. He has also worked as a concept artist for Horton Hears a Who and WALL-E. In 2011 he received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award honouring his contribution to international children’s literature (About me).


  • Sophisticated picture book

Curriculum Ties:

  • Art
  • English – story telling
  • Counseling – depression
  • World History – colonisation

Booktalking Ideas:

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

I love sophisticated picture books. I feel they can support curriculum and provide a starting point for conversations. Picture books were never intended to be just for children.


  • The Red Tree
    • The Patricia Wrightson prize.
    • Le Prix Octogones 2003 prize
  • The Lost Thing:
    • Honourable Mention at the Bolgna International Book Fair
    • CBCA Honour Book
    • Aurealis Award
    • Spectrum Award for illustration


Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.shauntan.net/





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