Lost and Found

Author:  Shaun Tan

Reading Range: 5.6 (AR Finder)

Interest Range:  5-8 (Follett Library Resources)

Plot:  This book features three stories that tell of things that are lost and found.  These three stories were originally published separately then they were gathered together.

Story 1-The Red Tree

This is a simple but visual complex story about a girl who is lost in her life and trying to find her way.

Story 2-The Lost Thing

A boy encounters a being that does not seem to belong anywhere.  He takes it home but he parents tell him that it cannot stay with them.  He decided to find a place where it can be safe and where it can belong.

Story 3-The Rabbits

The rabbits are invaders who come to a place that is different from their own.  They forced their way onto the land and start to change it without regard for what it used to be.  They take the land away from the people who used to live there forcing them to adopted their values and customs.


In the three stories, very few words are used to tell them.  Mostly it is images that convey the feelings and thoughts of the characters.  The illustrations Tan created are very rich in detailed and layered.   All the stories center around the them of losing something and finding something.  In “The Red Tree,” the images can be seen as a metaphor for feeling lost in ones own life.  There is an image of the girl where she is on stage with different object surrounding showing that she does not know who she is supposed to be.  The alien landscapes just magnify how lost and alone she feels in this world.  It is very dreamlike and beautiful.  “The Lost Thing” is the story with the most words but it still has very rich details in the pictures.  This story discuss conformity and what happens when things do not conform.  This story created a world where it is not safe for things that are different even through differences can be wonderful.  “The Rabbits” is the story that I connected to the most because of my background.  I am Native American.  This story can be seen as another metaphor for what happened to Indigenous people when the settlers came to either America or Australia.  The author is Australian and he meant it as a fable for what happened to the Aboriginals.  This one is heartbreaking because in the others stories there is a little hope in the “lostness” but here there is no hope.  I would recommend this book because it shows how beautiful and complex graphic novels can be.  This is a good example of how words and images together can convey something beautiful.

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

The Red Tree:

Girl-She does not have a name but the story follows her through her day.

The Lost Thing:

Boy-He narrators the story of trying to find a place for the Lost Thing.

Lost Thing-It follows around the boy.

The Rabbits:

Rabbits-They come to “The People’s land and take over.

“The People”-They get pushed out by the rabbits.

Themes: Convention and rebellion, Desire to escape, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Vulnerability of the meek

Bibliographic Info:  Tan, S. (2011). Lost and fond. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Tagline: A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world. A boy leads a strange, lost creature home. And a group of peaceful creatures cedes their home to hostile invaders.


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