Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Arrival

Tan, Shaun. 2007. THE ARRIVAL. Arthur A. Levine Books: New York. ISBN: 9780439895293

Plot Summary
A man journeys from a dark place and leaves his loving family to establish a new life for them in a land far away.  After arriving, he and the ship full of immigrants encounter a new world filled with exotic creatures and strange machines.  He meets people from other lands, takes on laborious jobs, and finally is reunited with his wife and child.  

Critical Analysis
The world created by Shaun Tan will take you to the past and future simultaneously, and the story line is one that is relevant in our society today.  Whether his drawings are two inches or ten, each is gallery worthy work of art.  From the moment that the immigrants scatter across the lands, brilliant mixtures of foreign skylines and printed unreadable languages give the viewer a sense of seclusion.  Emotions of uncertainty, adventure, loneliness, and love are strongly evoked by the sepia toned sequenced drawings.  Though THE ARRIVAL has no word, each page is an engaging and thought provoking read. 

Awards & Honors
Spectrum Award
World Fantasy Artist of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2007
New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2007
Booklist Editors' Choice 2007
School Library Journal Best Book of 2007
Washington Post Best Book for Young People for 2007
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon for Fiction
ALA Notable Children's Book, 2008
Horn Book Fanfare Book 2007
Nominated for an International Horror Guild Award, Illustrated Narrative

"Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel." - School Library Journal 2007
"The Arrival proves a beautiful, compelling piece of art, in both content and form." - Booklist 2007
"Shaun Tan not only makes the old immigration story new again, he also ingeniously puts the reader in the immigrant’s position to give the experience an immediacy one would have thought impossible to obtain from a fictional exploration..." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 2007

  • As an introduction, students can write a short essay about what they would expect if they were moving to a new country.
  • While "reading" students can take turns explaining frames.  They could also break out in to groups and discuss their interpretations of an assigned chapter.  
  • Students can practice their skills of storytelling though art, by drawing or sculpting a sequence of events that made (or could make) them feel different, nervous or scared.  

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