The story of a cicada who works in an office, and all the people who don't appreciate him. The new picture book from multi-award-winner Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival, The Lost Thing and Rules of Summer.
Cicada work in tall building.
Data entry clerk. Seventeen year.
No sick day. No mistake.
Tok Tok Tok!
Cicada works in an office, dutifully toiling day after day for unappreciative bosses and being bullied by his coworkers. But one day, cicada goes to the roof of the building, and something truly extraordinary happens ...
A story for anyone who has ever felt unappreciated, overlooked or overworked, from Australia's most acclaimed picture book creator.
Shaun Tan has done it again. Cicada is excellent. Although more distinctly a narrative picture book than some of his others, Cicada's darkness breeds a rich subtext that will serve well in classrooms and resonate with older children and adults. The journey of the eponymous cicada-an unappreciated, abused office worker-reimagines the peculiar life cycle of these extraordinary creatures in a stark, bleak, near-monochromatic human office environment, where all but the besuited insect are faceless, and the maze of cubicles look like Escher's might have if he'd had the joy stamped out of him. The concrete, minimalist illustrations Tan uses here contrast with his earlier work, and the seemingly simple story is multilayered, lending itself to various readings. Told in Cicada's broken English, the short narrative also conjures metaphors with the refugee experience. The mood of the story shifts at the end though it retains some ambiguity (the cathartic change in colour palette recalls the uplifting end of The Red Tree). Cicada's strangely addictive little refrain of 'Tok Tok Tok!', which echoes the insect's call as well as a mindless, keyboard-tapping corporate world, will stay with you, as will this beautiful book. - Books and Publishing
Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the 'good drawer' which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author in Melbourne.
Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through surreal, dream-like imagery. Books such as The Rabbits , The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E. He is currently directing a short film with Passion Pictures Australia; his most recently published book is Tales from Outer Suburbia.
Shaun is the winner of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren prize, the world's richest children's literature award. The awad described Shaun as 'a masterly visually storyteller'.
The Lost Thing animation recently won an Oscar for the best animated short film.