Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan
Lost & Found: Three by Shaun Tan contains three stories: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits (John Marsden). The illustrations throughout the book are a bit dark but beautifully done.
The Red Tree follows the story of a bad day leading to a discovery. This simply but beautifully worded story would be an excellent way to help a child understand a family or friend suffering from depression. Or even to help a child understand that every bad day passes. It demonstrates the need for hope.
The Lost Thing follows the journey of a child finding a "lost thing" and then trying to find a home for it. The story contains subtle threads of childhood wonder and a child's ability to accept things that are different without judgment. The natural instinct to help shines through in this story. The reader must smile along the journey even if at times reluctantly. The Lost Thing lifts one's mood in its simplicity while demonstrating that sometimes it's not possible or necessary to know everything in order to be helpful.
The Rabbits (John Marsden) is an analogy of what happens when one group, The Rabbits, invade, colonize, and destroy the resources of the natives. It achieves its goal if the goal is to make the reader uncomfortable. It is difficult to discern whether this story is a lesson to invaders to respect the natives or a message to natives to eject any immigrants. Nonetheless, The Rabbits is certainly a conversation starter. The original author, John Marsden, felt it necessary to add an explanation for why he wrote this story, which leads me to believe he realized it left room for interpretation.
All three stories pull the reader in and make the reader want to read the words again and examine the illustrations more closely. The stories have a genuineness that will relate to readers in a surprising manner. Lost & Found: Three proves that children's stories don't have to be silly, sweet, or light to work.