CanCon Review: The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

CanCon is the idea in Canada that a certain percentage of television/radio content needs to be Canadian in nature: either created by Canadian artists or about Canadian topics. Providing a few CanCon posts while I’m here seems only natural.

One message has been pounded into my head, daily, in my MPub classes: Canadians produce a lot of great artistic and cultural work. The irony is, now that I’m here and the deadlines are flying, I don’t get much of a chance to take it in.

An exception was last semester when we had a children’s book editor visit our editing class. She brought a bag full of children’s books to use on an exercise, and I was introduced to The Red Tree by Shaun Tan.

As soon as I laid eyes on the cover, I was sucked in and spent the next several minutes absorbing the book cover to cover. It’s surprisingly marketed as a children’s book, but it seemed to me to cut across boundaries of age. Both the art and typography are used in complex ways to tell the inner story of a little girl struggling with depression. She finds herself navigating a world that doesn’t make sense to her, feeling like she can’t communicate. (Fret not though, there is hope at the end!)

This is a fine example of Canadian literature that we rarely get exposed to in the US. But you don’t have to take my word for it!

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2 Comments

Filed under books, Uncategorized

2 responses to “CanCon Review: The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

  1. Bemused

    As a Canadian, library worker, and Vancouverite, this really irks me. While amazing, Shaun Tan is NOT Canadian. He is Australian. You should be looking up Melanie Watt or Robert Munsch, those are Canadian authors. I’m sorry, but this does not reflect well on the MPub program; is research the enemy of the publishing business? I mean, it literally took me about thirty seconds to Google Shaun Tan and find his Wikipedia article. Very disappointed.

    Oh, and fyi, $1200 a month is a lot, even in Vancouver.

    • You are correct! Imagine my horror when a couple of days after I had a chance to post this, I discovered that the whole premise of the post was based on a non-fact-checked assumption. I definitely understand how this error might reflect poorly on me, or even affirm that USAians are stupid, but not really sure how it would reflect poorly on the program. I just happened to be in class when I discovered the book. And I’ll be the first to admit that there were many, many, many times last year where I did stupid things of the “should have referred to X before asking/saying Y” ilk. It was a very difficult time and my brain definitely wasn’t working on all cylinders.

      Bemused, if this was your blog, how would you handle correcting a post that was based on incorrect information, including the title? (Seriously. This has been on my mind for some time, but this blog gets very few visitors so didn’t think I was actively perpetuating incorrect information.) And thanks for calling me out on it!

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