'A boy discovers a bizarre looking creature while out collecting bottle tops at the beach. Realising it is lost, he tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but is met with indifference from everyone else, who barely notice its presence, each unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to their day to day lives. For reasons he does not explain, the boy empathises with the creature, and sets out to find a "place' for it".'
Source: The Lost Thing website, http://www.thelostthing.com/
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 7/8 (NSW Stage 4)
art, belonging, bureaucracy, conformity, creativity, dystopia, friendship, individuality, modern society, Sustainability, utopia
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
Well-known stories in established and contemporary literature for children are increasingly becoming available in various moving image media versions as well as in traditional book formats. Classroom exploration of the same story in different narrative formats has addressed the impact on meaning-making of similarities and differences in language and image across versions. What has received very little attention however, is the role of music in conjunction with image and language in the construction of the potentially different interpretive possibilities of the multiple versions of ostensibly the same story. This paper discusses the nature and role of music, images and language in the book and movie versions of Shaun Tan’s story of The Lost Thing, drawing attention to the role of music in highlighting key interpretive differences deriving from subtle variation in the use of image and language in the two story versions. Implications for students’ multimodal text creation and interpretation in the context of the new Australian Curriculum: English are briefly noted. [Author's abstract]
Today’s children frequently experience multiple versions of literary narratives as more and more picture books appear also as animated movies and i-pad/tablet apps. In some cases the animated versions are very different from the books but in other cases the language and the visual character representations maintain the essential features of the book versions. Works such as these afford the opportunity to appreciate how quite subtle changes in depiction from static to moving image can effect significant shifts in the interpretive possibilities. This kind of interpretive context is addressed directly in the Australian Curriculum: English, which indicates, for example, that year four and five students should be examining variation in visual point view and its impact on audiences. This chapter firstly examines the knowledge about the meaning-making resources of still and moving images that is necessary to negotiate these kinds of curriculum expectations. This is illustrated through a comparative analysis of corresponding segments of three well-known picture books.
Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, The Lost Thing (2000) prompts readers to ask: ‘Who is this book for and what does it mean?’ Tan, in a personal email to the author, himself confesses that the work is a fable ‘about all sorts of social concerns with a rather ambiguous ending’, while the unnamed narrator of the story nonchalantly confesses: ‘don’t ask me what the moral is’. For these reasons, the reader may be forgiven for believing that the first-person narrator of The Lost Thing, represented in the illustrations as an ‘eraser headed’ young man, is possibly the author himself. But who knows, given that Shaun has declared of his work, ‘Just don’t ask the creator.’ (Introduction)