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Cicada - Shaun Tan

Cicada

By: Shaun Tan

Paperback | 1 February 2023 | Edition Number 1

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WINNER OF THE CBCA PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2019

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. This is Shaun Tan's first author-illustrator book in five years, and his most important and moving fable since The Arrival.

About the Author

Shaun Tan grew up in Perth and graduated from the University of Western Australia with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature. He 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. His works include The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, Rules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival. All have been widely translated throughout Europe, Asia and South America, and are enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer and a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and Pixar's WALL-E and in 2011, he shared an Academy Award for his work on the animated short film based on his book, The Lost Thing. In that same year, he won the Dromkeen Medal for services to children's literature and the Astrid Lindgren prize, the world's richest children's literature award.
Industry Reviews
quite simply a stunning work of art - Better Reading

The illustrations are sublime, in detail, composition and texture, making CICADA an illustrated appreciation of the under appreciated, a book to be appreciated and cherished.

A must for any child's library, CICADA transcends category and deserves a place in any library where the social, political and the surreal are celebrated. - Sydney Arts Guide

Cicada is a work that packs a punch regardless of your age. - The Garrett Podcast

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

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