Tales from the Inner City
(Walker Studio)– hardback
Tales from the Inner City are the stories of animals within a human world. Some like the lungfish evolve from drainpipes to absorb, work beneath and thereafter beyond a human world. Meanwhile, human existence works, watches television and sleeps. Other animals, like the hippo, are dreamed by the prodigy who is a subject of fascination. He does not admit that thoughts of this creature are his constant refuge as he is observed, investigated, ridiculed and hunted.
Yet, what of the bear court? With ‘the Ledgers of the Earth, written in clouds and glaciers and sediments’.. in all the places we never bothered to look’… However, it seems that humans write all the laws. Although we may be begged to ‘take care of the sheep’ or mourn the loss of Tugboat, it seems that animals must exist in our world. Thereafter, we can be unaware of their existence. For example, the crocodiles in the city skyscraper, or the floods of butterflies that overwhelm a metropolis.
International award-winning picture book maker Shaun Tan is at the top of the game. While we know him best for The Arrival, used in every Year 6 classroom, there’s Cicada amongst many other works. There is another focus in Tales from the City yet the same wearied observation and consideration. Meanwhile, the pictures are breathtaking. This book merits a place on every bookshelf.
Winner of the Kate Greenaway Award