The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)

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The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)
Red tree and red haired girl
Author Shaun Tan
Original title The Red Tree
Translator None
Illustrator Shaun Tan
Cover artist Shaun Tan
Country Australia
Language English
Series No
Subject Depression and hope
Genre Picture book
Publisher Marina Dalrea
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Book
Pages 24
ISBN ISBN 0968876838

The Red Tree (2001), written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, is a picture book that presents a fragmented journey through a dark world. The illustrations are surreal. The text is sparse and matches the dark illustrations.

The story is based on images inspired by the experience of depression. The main character is a lonely red-headed girl. A red leaf from a red tree follows the girl through her day; it states how she feels and depicts her worries. Almost unnoticed in each picture is a small red leaf (symbolising hope). At the end, the little girl stands smiling at a beautiful red-leafed tree growing in her bedroom.

This book is one of many picture books by Tan, also addressing issues such as immigration and cultural differences.


  • The Red Tree. Publishers Weekly, Jan 27, 2003. p259.
  • The Red Tree. Kirkus Reviews, Jan 15, 2003. p148.
  • The Red Tree. Booklist, May 1, 2003. p1589.