Friday, 1 February 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 1st Feb 2013 - "Eric" by Shaun Tan (Templar Books)

For an eternity we've coveted the lovely lovely Shaun Tan books and this year we made up our minds to make sure we picked up as many as possible. My lovely sister and her hubby (both devoted bookworms with awesome taste) gave us the tiny hardback version of "Eric" last weekend as a belated Christmas pressie (we both live at opposite ends of the country so don't meet up as much as we'd like to).

Eric is a story tweaked lovingly from Shaun Tan's excellent anthology "Tales of Suburbia" and tells the story of an exchange student, who comes to stay with a family.

Eric is quiet, unassuming and of great interest to the younger members of the family who find all his cultural differences absolutely fascinating. He eschews his comfortable bed in favour of sleeping in the larder. He shows very little interest in sightseeing, but picks up tiny bits of bric-a-brac as the family shows him around the town.

There's something about Eric, a character that is visually interesting but a mystery wrapped in an enigma. There's also something totally intoxicating about Shaun Tan's work, with his delicate use of light and shade giving everything he does an almost sombre feel.

But this book is celebratory, and it's also another book that had an electrifying effect on Charlotte - who has demanded it almost daily since we got it. She loves the questions it provokes, and she also rather fell in love with the end of the book when it's revealed that Eric's sudden disappearance did not go unmarked, and Eric left something for the family to treasure for years to come (we won't spoil it, but it's a delightful end to a brilliant brilliant book). The format (small hard back) is great too, as a collection of these tiny little masterpieces would look fantastic on a book shelf - better in a child's hands though, without a doubt!

Our quest to own everything this very talented man has put his hand to continues...!

(See also our review this week of Shaun Tan and Gary Crew's "The Viewer")

Charlotte's best bit: The reveal at the end, which is such a beautiful contrast to a fairly dark and monochrome book.

Daddy's favourite bit: The effect this book had on Charlotte. As addictive to her as the stickiest sugary treat we could possibly think of. A book in constant demand!