The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

Reviewed by
January-February 2016, no. 378
Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'The Singing Bones' by Shaun Tan

The Singing Bones

by Shaun Tan

Allen & Unwin, $35 hb, 192 pp, 9781760111038

The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

Reviewed by
January-February 2016, no. 378

In 2012, Shaun Tan was commissioned to make pictures for a German publisher's edition of fifty of the Brothers Grimms' fairy tales, retold by Philip (His Dark Materials) Pullman. Pullman's challenge is that the tales do not necessarily benefit from illustration – he dismisses most as 'art school exquisiteness'. Tan's response was to return to his boyhood medium: sculpture. Inspired by the tales, he made twenty-five additional works, each 'about the size and weight of an orange'.

These small works, fabulously photographed, have now been published by Allen & Unwin. Extracts from Jack Zipes's translation of Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales – none more than 200 words long – sit alongside full colour plates. (Full annotations of the stories are at the back of the book.)

Margaret Robson Kett reviews 'The Singing Bones' by Shaun Tan

The Singing Bones

by Shaun Tan

Allen & Unwin, $35 hb, 192 pp, 9781760111038

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