Eric by Shaun Tan


Written by Shaun Tan

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Exquisitely packaged, this is a beautiful, lyrically written and illustrated fable about cultural differences and how we deal with them. Eric comes on a foreign exchange. The narrator is excited that he is coming but then confused by Eric’s responses to things. What is interesting for him? Is he having a good time? How does he see us? All is made clear when the visitor suddenly goes leaving behind an interesting and surprising legacy.


Eric by Shaun Tan

The story of Eric is the taken from the bestselling Tales from Outer Suburbia. Eric is the strangest, most curious foreign exchange student ever known who has a fascination with small discarded things that he finds on the ground. But it is only after he has left that the family find a truly wonderful surprise in their pantry. This little book is a perfectly formed gem that illustrates Shaun Tan’s skill as both an illustrator and storyteller.


Praise for Shaun Tan:

“stunningly original … most illustrations in books are reactions to the text, but here the pictures inspire the stories. They are all strange and beautiful.” Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate

“Tan’s writing is as beautiful as his art and his mind produces ideas and images as if from a sea of magic.” Neel Mukerjee, The Times

“He has always had an eye for the misplaced, bizarre side of life.” Kate Kellaway, The Observer

About the Author

Shaun Tan

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, concentrating mostly on writing and illustrating picture books.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since then he has received numerous awards for his picture books, including the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Picture Book of the Year Award for The Rabbits with John Marsden. In 2001 Shaun was named Best Artist at the World Fantasy Awards in Montreal. He has recently worked for Blue Sky Studios and Pixar, providing concept artwork for forthcoming films.

Shaun Tan on himself and Eric:

“A recurring theme in my sketchbook are characters carrying a suitcase. I’m not sure why. Sometimes it arises because I’ve drawn a character and they look silly standing there without anything in their hands, so I’ll often add a suitcase or a box. This constantly suggested a story. The story ‘Eric’ in Tales from Outer Suburbia was suggested by a similar drawing of a little character with a pointy head and the word Eric written underneath.

I do rarely give names. 'Eric' is an exception, but even then the name is a substitute for something we can’t hear or pronounce properly, so we never know his real name.” (interview with Write Away, 2009)

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Book Info


48 pages


Shaun Tan
More books by Shaun Tan

Author's Website


Templar Publishing

Publication date

1st May 2010




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