Cicada – Shaun Tan

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cicadaCicada is the stunning new picture book from the master of storytelling, Shaun Tan.

He takes us on an emotional journey, and then, right there in those final pages BAM! he takes us on a twist that was so unexpected and so delightful. Pure genius.

Cicada is the most loyal of employees. He works hard, doesn’t complain about the lack of promotion, doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t take days off sick. Ever. In 17 years.  The mottled grey tones, reflect the drabness of his work life, the only glint of colour being Cicada’s green head poking over the top of his formal, grey work attire.

Is Cicada an indictment on an element of the corporate world? A comment on how those who are perceived as ‘outsiders’ are treated? The human boss, and fellow employees shun Cicada – not even allowing him to use the same toilet. They turn a blind eye to the obvious signs that he has no home to go to at the end of the day. Cold, uncaring simply because he is different.

‘Human coworker no like cicada.

Say things. Do things.

Think cicada stupid.’

…and when Cicada is told to leave his job. Harshly. No handshake, no thank you – he heads to the top of the building. And from there… a glorious twist that’ll have you smiling for Cicada. No more details than that – go grab a copy.


Sorrowful yet uplifting, despondent yet hopeful – through Cicada Shaun Tan proves once again just how powerful picture books truly are.

[Book borrowed from my local library, because my local library is brilliant. Love your library. Use your library.]



Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan

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