picture books: the bad and the good

in the past two weeks I have stepped out of my literary comfort zone and read two picture books: one completely and utterly shit, the other completely and utterly amazing.

the bad first: an english version of a japanese manga comic – it was so bad i cant remember the name. something about ‘the last people from this happy planet’. ie they even fucked up the translation, it wasnt natural english.  i read this graphic novel on the tram on the way to my ikebana class, and had to check several times that people weren’t reading over my shoulder as there were some love scenes which were a bit pornographic. ive seen men read far more risque on trains in japan, but still, i felt it was inappropriate train reading. it was about this girl who somehow mutated into a killing machine and she had limited lifespan to complete her journey. i found myself wishing she’d die early so the story would end.

the good: shaun tan is an illustrator from Western Australia and his book The Arrival is one of the most uplifiting stories ive read in a while.  it deservedly won the NSW premier’s book of the year this year. the arrival tells, in wonderfully detailed black and white pictures, the story of the universal immigrant who flees his or her homeland due to war or personal circumstances, to begin life in a new country. it’s something that everyone should read and enjoy – you can read it in 30 min or 3 hours depending on your obeservation levels.

the picture ive posted is of a mural, titled The Tea Party, that shaun tan did for the children’s section of the subiaco public libray in WA.  looks amazing –  i’d love to see something like this in the children’s section of our library.


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