Today’s Authors’ pick has been chosen by Sherryl Clark.
The Singing Bones
I always look forward to seeing what Shaun Tan will do next, and this book is amazing, even if you don’t have a special interest in fairy tales like me. What was even better – I was able to go and see the exhibition of sculptures/artworks that Shaun created for the book.
It’s a collection of photographs of the sculptures, along with short excerpts from the fairy tales they represent. Just when you thought you could guess what Tan might create for a certain tale, he will surprise you.
He initially created some of them to illustrate the German edition of Philip Pullman’s collection of tales, and there are now 75 of them in this book. Pullman wrote the foreword, and uses words such as “uncanny”, “strange” and “brilliant and grotesque weirdness” to describe the sculptures. Everyone I know who has seen the exhibition and/or read this book have their favourites. Mine include The Turnip, The Singing, Springing Lark, All Fur, Foundling, The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About Fear and Hansel and Gretel.
The photographs are brilliant, using light and shadow to make the sculptures feel almost alive, about to jump off the page. Every time I go back to this book, it amazes me all over again.
Sherryl Clark writes children’s and YA books and poetry, and is currently undertaking a creative writing PhD focusing on fairy tales.