The Lost Thing by Oscar winner, Shaun Tan. (Congratulations, Shaun!)

“The Lost Thing” has won the Oscar for animated short film. Directed by Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann, the short film tells the story of a boy who finds a misshapen creature on a beach and tries to find a home for it. The movie is based on a children’s picture book by Tan.

“The Lost Thing” was competing against “The Gruffalo,” “Let’s Pollute,” “Day & Night” and “Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary).” writes Nardine Saad in LA Times

The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan

A boy finds a lost ‘thing’ on the beach where he’s scavenging for his bottle top collection. The thing is a large, freakish creature but no one except him really notices it. A quirky tale about finding your place in the world.

A boy discovers a bizarre-looking creature while out collecting bottle-tops at a beach. Having guessed that it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but the problem is met with indifference by everyone else, who barely notice its presence. Each is unhelpful in their own way; strangers, friends, parents are all unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to day-to-day life. In spite of his better judgement, the boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, and attempts to find out where it belongs.

Read Shaun’s answers to my Ten Terrifying Questions – here

About the Author

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the ‘good drawer’ which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne. Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree , The Lost Thing , and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival , have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar’s WALL-E . His short film, The Lost Thing (based on his book), won an Oscar!

Shaun Tan, author/illustrator of The Arrival, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Oscar Winner,

Shaun Tan

author/illustrator of

The Arrival, The Red Tree, The Rabbits, The Lost Thing and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Fremantle, raised in Hillarys, a northern suburb of Perth, currently living in Melbourne with my wife and three crazy birds. WA remains sunburnt into my subconscious, and it’s landscapes are the source for most of my stories and images. My childhood in the northern suburbs was like being wonderfully marooned on the edge of the world, surrounded by high blue skies and infinite empty beaches. Not so much to do but potter around with paints and pencils.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, I probably wanted to be an artist – in a vague sort of way. I kept being told how unromantic it really was, that I’d end up starving in a garret. But then again, someone was doing all those paintings, book covers and film designs, and they were probably paid well enough for it, so the whole idea of an ‘artist’ remained a big mystery for me for a long time. Was it or was it not a real job?

At eighteen, I actually wanted to be a writer. I was painting also, but spending far more time writing; illustration was also a possible career, but again, it didn’t seem very dependable. I was also considering studying biotechnology at the time, being quite interested in genetic science in late high school. Unfortunately, science and art were rigorously separated, as if the idea of doing both was Continue reading


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