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Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Viewer by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan

The Viewer

Young Tristan, a curious boy who rescues all sorts of objects from the rubbish dump, finds an old Viewmaster in its elaborate box, complete with a set of disks. He finds that these represent the ages of humankind, seen as a cyclical structure in which patterns of growth and decay are repeated. Tristan becomes more and more drawn in to the world of the disks, and eventually disappears. The book is full of metaphors and symbols of seeing and watching, circularity and never-endingness, in a complex, fantastical tale, which was Shaun Tan's first picture book.

A book which will appeal to boys who are inquisitive and like mystery, intrigue or fantasy. A picture book style book, with many pictures, but fewer words.

The author uses descriptive words throughout, allowing the reader to imagine the scenes and especially the box/viewer. He describes using all the senses - the odour of the entombed air, the detailed engraving etc. The story is short but the readers imagination could twist their own story within the book. 

The book is full of fantastic illustrations which are as much apart of the story as the words themselves. The first page of the story is of a baby on a play mat - however the rest of the pictures are amazing - full of details which seem to appear before your eyes and tell the stories as well as the words.

I would recommend this book for a slightly older child, aged 7 and over. 

Thank you to Michael from The School Run Forum and Hodder Children's Books for sending me the book to review.

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