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4.54 of 5 stars 4.54  ·  rating details  ·  611 ratings  ·  51 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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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...more
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:
Infinite Playlist
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.
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...more
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.
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.
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...more
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...more
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.
Ruby Patel

A glimpse into what is it to be a little different?

A captivating, sweet and incredibly intriguing story showcasing Eric's interest into the smaller, finer things in our world, those things we sometimes neglect, are the things Eric explored and wondered about the most.
This is a beautiful story, well written and illustrated - with soft illustrations throughout and an admirable last image of all the little things Eric had secretly collected proposing his own unique 'goodbye'. Tan leaves us with a s...more
Overall I enjoyed reading Shaun Tan's book. It was full of life lessons that would be great for the children. Tan uses funny and random drawings of Eric hiding from the family in tiny places around the house like teacups and cabinets. He stays and learns the basic in's and out's of life and goes his own way, but not without leaving his own colorful mark on the gracious home that allowed him to stay there. This is a great example of Shaun Tan's lesson's that can be learned through a simple pictur...more
Mia Balsamo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Wisler
I really enjoyed the illustrations of this book. I found myself looking at all of the details of this strange creature Eric and the world around him. I don't think the story would have been anywhere near as good nor have had as much of an impact without Shaun Tan's pictures included - particularly the color Eric leaves behind. The ending leaves every reader, not just children, with a reminder of the importance that we accept others for who they are and seek happiness.
A pleasant little book, and it makes me want to read the entire book that it's from (Tales of Outer Suburbia). It was very heartwarming and I think the illustrations did a great job depicting Eric's world. I would say that not all picture books are for children, and this would be one of them. The pictures combined with the words speak volumes (so much, that honestly, without the pictures, would not be possible).
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 3 because of the illustrations. I liked the book as a whole but the illustrations definitely impacted me more than the story itself. After reading more of Shaun Tan in class I think he is brilliant. This may sound silly but his little stories make my heart happy for some reason. I would recommend this to anyone who likes short stories with somewhat dark overtones.
Tori Quiring
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric was an interesting story to say the least. It is one of those stories with limited text yet still speaks volumes. The little character Eric was so funny in his antics such as sleeping or hiding in the tea cup. The part that most resonated with me is what he leaves behind. In the literal and metaphorical sense, he left the family with some color in their lives/cabinet.
How do you even review this? It's beautiful. It makes you think. It's so intensely powerful I'm sure I'll be pondering it for quite a while... and every time I pick it up.

Thank you to my friend Annaleise for giving me this book. I shall treasure it. It's even more special since it contains a birthday note (and cupcake plant drawing!) from Shaun Tan himself!
Tara O'malley
“Eric” by Shaun Tan is a great global/intramural book. The book does not have a lot of text yet it is a lovely illustrated tale about a little house guest that does all these strange things. Although I do not completely understand all of it, it is a nice allegory for cultural differences. I would recommend this book to any age group.


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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
More about Shaun Tan...
The Arrival Tales from Outer Suburbia Lost and Found: Three by Shaun Tan The Red Tree The Lost Thing

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