I'm thrilled to have just got a big chunky envelope containing my contract from Hachette to work on a picture book, Mending Lucille, over the course of this year - due for release mid-2008. I'm particularly happy about this because the text (by Jennifer Poulter) is absolutely beautiful and is going to be amazing to work with. It's evocative and lyrical, and full of rich imagery - an illustrator's dream! So I have a project that I can really get my teeth into.

And I'm in illustrious company, because Hachette also publish Shaun Tan, so I'm going to bask in his reflected glory. I just bought his new book, The Arrival.

I can't describe it better than it is already described on his website:

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.

The powerful emotional punch that his wordless images convey is really something, and he vividly conjures the sense of strangeness and dislocation experienced by refugees in a new land. To see a selection of images from the book, go to his Books section and click on the cover image.

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