But when the little boy in Shaun Tan's enchanting and thought-provoking book The Lost Thing alights on a curio in the sand, it's unlike anything else in his collection.
The lad in the book first published in 2000 normally sticks to bottle-tops. But when he takes on a bizarre-looking creature, he tries in vain to find its owner or home. Everyone he turns to is uninterested and unhelpful. No one wants the inconvenience of helping out.
The gentle boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, however, and perseveres in his quest.
The story has many resonances in a world hostile to strangers and to those who look or behave differently. In this new production for Christmas it is brought to life with music, drama and dance.
The Royal Opera and Candoco Dance Company combine in this first big family show in the Linbury Theatre since its radical overhaul. The theatre is on a scale perfect for youngsters.
Jules Maxwell has composed the score. The director and choreographer is Ben Wright, with costumes by Rike Zöllner and set and video by Will Holt.
Very early booking will be essential for this Christmas present from the Royal Opera House, which is sure to sell out.
The Lost Thing is sung in English. General booking goes on sale 9AM, Wed 7 Aug
|What||The Lost Thing, Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
07 Dec 19 – 04 Jan 20, 28 performances, at 2:15PM and 7:15PM on most days
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|