The Singing Bones

By Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan fans get to see his extraordinary talent applied to sculpture in this award-winning, lavishly presented collection of art based on fairy tales told by the Brothers Grimm.

Artist Shaun Tan is world renowned for his singular vision and storytelling abilities. This art book showcases his sculptural talent, applied here to fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. Tan captures the essence of these tales as he brings traitorous brothers, lonely princesses, cunning foxes, honourable peasants and ruthless witches to life in surprising – and illuminating – ways. Introduced by author Neil Gaiman and fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones is a feast for the eyes, a profound, powerful celebration of the world's most beloved stories.

Categories: Illustrated Classics

For readers aged: 8+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406370669
  • Published: 01 Sep 2016
  • Price: £19.99
  • Size: 240 x 185 mm
  • Pages: 208

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Customer reviews


'Walker Studio is an imprint aiming to produce “books for book lovers” and this, its launch title, certainly encapsulates that. Acclaimed artist Shaun Tann has created meticulously staged sculptural works of 75 Grimms fairytales, each photographed and accompanied by an excerpt from the story. The result is just stunning: hypnotic, dreamlike images that capture the essence of these timeless tales.' The Bookseller

'A nightmarish mix of cute and gruesome' The Guardian

'[...]a mesmerizing art book revealing Grimms’ Fairy Tales in sculptural form[...]'

'At first, The Singing Bones is a book to look at and be bewildered, but the more it is studied, the more fascinating this lesson becomes in not accepting the traditional, but extending its meaning, without losing the original. It is both intriguing and interesting.' Newbury Weekly News

'One of my absolute favourite books which takes the dark side of fairy tales is The singing Bones by Shaun Tan, which is a collection of photographs of clay sculptures made by Tan and inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales, of interest to anybody who cares about art, or sculpture, or fairy tale, or indeed horror.' Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times

'Genius is extremely rare, immediately recognisable, and very humbling. Shaun Tan's gloriously original and immensely physical maquette interpretations of Grimm, engaging not with individuals but with bedrock characteristics, have much more affinity to prehistoric clay carvings than to any contemporary artist, and they're by turns comic, alarming, beautiful, macabre, utterly disarming and deeply moving. Each dramatically-lit image is accompanied by a short passage from the matching tale, while the endnotes summarise each tale in the book. Foreword by Neil Gaiman... Introduction by Jack Zipes... the sheer thought and love that has been put into every aspect of this superb, cross-disciplinary enterprise makes it not only my book of the year but of the decade.' Books for Keeps

'“The Singing Bones is a very rich resource: a treasure chest of entertaining stories, an inspiration for art work, a prompt for discussions and research, a handsome beautifully designed book, and above all an exemplar of outstanding creativity.”' The School Librarian

'“stunning”' Books for Keeps

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