The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)

The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)

"The Red Tree" (ISBN 0968876838), written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, is a children's picture book that presents an unusually dark view of life. The illustrations are detailed and surreal. The text is spare and matches the dark tone of the illustrations.

The story is about the sensitive issue of childhood depression. The main character is a lonely red-headed girl. "The Red Tree" follows the girl through her day; it states how she feels and depicts her dark, gloomy worries. Almost unnoticed in each picture is a small red leaf (symbolising hope). At the end of the story, the little girl stands smiling at a beautiful red-leafed tree growing in her bedroom. Although the general tone of the book is sad, there is a strong note of optimism in the closing pages.

This book is one of the many children's story books by Shaun Tan; all of his other books are about sensitive childhood issues.


*The Red Tree. "Publishers Weekly", Jan 27, 2003. p259.
*The Red Tree. "Kirkus Reviews", Jan 15, 2003. p148.
*The Red Tree. "Booklist", May 1, 2003. p1589.

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