The Haunted Playground (Shade Books)

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( 153 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9781598898606: The Haunted Playground (Shade Books)

Gavin is obsessed with hunting for treasure with his metal detector. He finds the perfect spot, a huge, sandy playground. Then he meets a bunch of kids who have a mysterious treasure hunt of their own. Gavin gets the feeling they want him to stay forever.

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About the Author:

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in Australia. As a teenager, Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small press magazines. Since then, he has received numerous awards for his picture books. He has recently worked for Blue Sky Studios and Pixar, providing concept artwork for forthcoming films. His book The Arrival was one of the best reviewed books of 2007.

Review:

Australian artist Tan, whose weighty, fantastical picture books for older readers have been gradually filtering into the U.S. (his graphic novel The Arrival received a starred review in Booklist), tries his hand at illustrated fiction in this entry in the Shade Books series, which is aimed at kids with reading difficulties. A lonely boy, Gavin, who appears to be a young teen, has an unusual hobby. The owner of a metal detector, he visits playgrounds at night in search of valuables. One evening, a group of sylphlike children appear. They ask him to join in their game, and he agrees, though he begins to feel he is the game. Gavin's instinct is right, and he's soon being pursued across the park by demonic children who never want him to leave. If the ending is disappointingly abrupt, the suspense builds adequately, and the telling is simple enough to allow slower readers to enjoy the story without feeling they are reading something babyish. Tan's black-and-white sketches give the story much of its dark lure. --Booklist

Tan's moody, intense black-and-white art confers sophistication upon the books, suggesting edgy magazine stories rather than stodgy nutritional reading. --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Book

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