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4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  937 ratings  ·  77 reviews
“Years ago we had a foreign exchange student come to live with us. We found it very difficult to pronounce his name correctly, but he didn’t mind. He told us to just call him ‘Eric’.”

As charming as he is curious, by the end of his stay this intriguing house guest will capture your heart. This story is from Shaun Tan’s award-winning collection Tales from Outer Suburbia.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Allen & Unwin (first published April 1st 2008)
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The Arrival by Shaun TanThe Red Tree by Shaun TanThe Lost Thing by Shaun TanEric by Shaun TanThe Haunted Playground by Shaun Tan
Best of Shaun Tan
4th out of 5 books — 5 voters
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Picture books for adults
114th out of 119 books — 85 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,896)
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It's the first thing we show any new visitors to our house. "Look what our foreign exchange student left for us," we tell them. "It must be a cultural thing," says Mum.
I solemnly promise: Should a Thumbelina-sized Eric (His real name is too difficult to pronounce for us) ever decide to stay at my place as a foreign exchange student, I am going to refrain from buckling him into a car seat, where he would be blocked from seeing the world (Easy, since I don't own a car). I will coo about each bonb
Maggie Stiefvater
Technically this little volume is part of Tales of Outer Suburbia, if memory serves, but if you can find it in this little hardback version, it is very agreeable. It works on so many levels — I read it to my kids, who are 8 & 9, and we giggle and talk about metaphor.
Moira Russell
So fucking adorable and well-done, it will renew your faith in humankind and make you think the world isn't heading for disaster after all. The final panel is indeed worth a thousand words. Surreal but warm, enigmatic yet touching, this book is fantastic. You can read it online here:
Pally Chohan

A charming and magical little book, which explores the differences of people. Eric is a Foreign exchange student (we do not know where he is from or anything about his life), who is very different to his host family, he is very inquisitive asking questions which may seem bizarre, especially to those who no longer appreciate the simple pleasures of life. But leaves his mark on the family with his beautiful gift, long after he suddenly leaves, without any explanation.
The illustrations are simply
Miss Bookiverse
This is such a cute book, and only a little smaller than a postcard.
The drawings are adorable and beautiful.
At first I was afraid the storyline would fall flat and disappoint me but then I turned the last page and I went all "aaaawwwww", perfect conclusion to the book.
Un precioso relato breve. La magia de Tan logra dotar de una tremenda expresividad a un ser sin apenas rasgos.

This bitch almost made me cry.
A perfect Christmas read.
This book is heart warming, especially when you get to the last few pages. I audibly gasped and felt this huge surge of happiness run through me- it's that kind of book. Don't think just because it's book filled with really lovely illustrations that it's just for children, because it taps into the topic of the nature of 'good' living beings- which everyone, at any age should be able to relate to.

I first came upon this little book in a creaky book store, snuggly tucked away in the shelves. I was
Milá ilustrovaná knižka, ktorú prečítate za pár minúť postávajúc v kníhkupectve pri polici s knihami. Ale je tak krásna, že si ju dosť možno po dočítaní aj tak kúpite a prinesiete domov.
Cutest little slice-of-life short (from Tales from Outer Suburbia).
Utterly stunning.
Saliha Nazir
A magical, heart-warming book about a foreign exchange student named Eric. We are not given details about where he is from but we do know he is different to the host family he lives with. Eric is portrayed as strange, unusual and odd as the host family attempt to understand him but struggle due to the cultural differences acting as a barrier. Suddenly, Eric leaves without any explanation leaving the host family confused and upset, but they soon notice the lovely gift he left behind, which is bea ...more
I just read this little picture storybook online at:

It was a delightful way to begin my morning: an utterly enchanting, beautifully illustrated tale. Perfectly subtle yet powerfully presenting themes of difference, curiousness, apprehension and acceptance, this book is a tiny wonder.
This is just beautiful. I don't understand all of it, but the illustrations are stunning, they draw you in completely in just a few pages and very little text. This is not a sad story, yet I was almost in tears reading this...

This would be perfect as a gift for any age.

This is a very cute story that really shows the importance of cultural sensitivity and how we never really know the thoughts and feelings of another being and so we shouldn't be quick to judge.
Dec 31, 2013 Nim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nim by: Queen of Mirkwood
The most enchanting thing I have ever seen.
I read this story as a part of "Tales From Outer Suburbia" and it's by far my favorite. It makes you feel so warm inside...(-_-)<3
A special one for me.
Katrina Germein
I’m always worried when Shaun Tan’s name comes up in conversation. If I sense it coming I generally run – I suddenly need the loo or a drink or I have to check an imaginary urgent message on my phone. Conversations regarding Tan are forever the same; they go like this: everyone starts talking about what an amazing genius Shaun Tan is and I kind of smile and nod so as not to appear a philistine. That’s it. (I think it is actually mandatory that the word genius be used in every conversation concer ...more
Liz Murray
I've been catching up on Shaun Tan's work while reading China Miéville's Railsea. The world/s Shaun Tan depicts and the quirkiness of his creations work at times feel like almost parallel universes to the one Miéville creates. It's almost impossible to put their work in a specific genre. Both Tan and Miéville take me places I've never been before. Eric is a very sweet, short tale. Tan's work often deals with the theme of living in a world where communication can be difficult but an understanding ...more
Jun 07, 2010 Larissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
He wasn't at all what was expected; he came from a different place and did things differently. The spare room that had been redecorated just for him he didn't use. The questions he asked were not the questions expected, and they were not easily answered. He was quiet and kept mostly to himself.

But he was polite and friendly and he didn't mind when we had trouble pronouncing his name, simply telling us to just call him Eric. He was always happy to be taken out and shown the sights. He was always
Kate Bystrova
This is the story of an exchange student, a strange little mite called Eric, who has come to stay with a host family in a foreign country.

The family thinks that a lot of the things that Eric does are odd, and the feeling is reciprocated. But this is a light-hearted tale that shows that, wherever we come from, people are ultimately very similar and can all get along, despite other cultures seeming a bit ‘weird’ at first.

Like all of Tan's work, the book is beautifully illustrated and the story is
I have no idea why it took me so very long to discover Shaun Tan, but he's magic and I think you'll love him too, unless you're a heartless teapot (and even then...!) Still, perhaps his stuff might be closer to the heart of those who wander and have felt occasionally lost. :)

I think this little booklet might just be my favourite story of his, I think it's a good way in, anyway!
When a family hosts an "exchange student" in their home, some of the unusual things he does, like sleep in the pantry, are chalked up to just being a "cultural thing", but when he slips away one day with little more than a goodbye, the family is left wondering about the curious way he left and what he left behind.

I'll be the first to admit, I know that Shaun Tan is brilliant, but I've just never "got" his work before. The book Eric may be diminutive in size, but it is packed with meaning and wo
Kate Sherry
This really is a book for all ages. I think in general we think that books with fewer words are reserved for children, but I just loved this little nugget of a book. If you read the book without looking at the pictures, it's just a cute, fun story of a foreign exchange student who does things differently; however, the illustrations add such a unique, whimsical, almost fantastical element to the story that is just precious. Shaun Tan's illustrations are really what made this book one I will not f ...more
Disappointing not for what it is, which is charming, but who it comes from. This entirely too quick tale comes from someone who has crafted masterpieces of art. I'm not speaking in hyperbole; Shaun Tan is an artistic genius. However, this far-too-short children's book is delightful for the brief moment it's there but unfortunately doesn't have the same life-shaking presence of his other more famous works, The Red Tree or The Lost Thing. Skippable but if within arm's length, read it to your kid.
Such a cute story. Short and sweet. Beautiful images & a beautiful ending. Really enjoyed it. First book I have read by Shaun tan - definitely going to check out his other stuff as this is so amazing.
Trodde att det här skulle vara en ny historia, men det är precis samma som den som finns med i "Berättelser från yttre förorten". En liten besvikelse bara på grund av det
This is a very short but sweet little book. The illustrations are lovely, and I like to keep it near my bedside so I can read it at the end of the day if I need cheering up!
An adorable, heart warming story about 'eric'
I guarantee that at the end you will want an 'eric' to visit you.

The illustrations are also top notch.
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Shaun Tan (born 1974) is the illustrator and author of award-winning children's books. After freelancing for some years from a studio at Mt. Lawley, Tan relocated to Melbourne, Victoria in 2007. Tan was the Illustrator in Residence at the University of Melbourne's Department of Language Literacy and Arts Education for two weeks through an annual Fellowship offered by the May Gibbs Children’s Liter ...more
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