Review // Cicada

Title: Cicada
Author: Shaun Tan
Published: June 2018
Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books
Readership: Children’s
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

I’ve been a huge fan of Shaun Tan’s work ever since I was introduced to it through The Red Tree and I was really excited when I heard that he had a new picture book coming out. Cicada is the story of a (you guessed it!) cicada who, inexplicably, works in an office building alongside human workers. Cicada deals with bullying, being unappreciated by everyone, and being mostly overlooked. When Cicada retires he goes to the roof and there something magical occurs.

I think Cicada will polarise some readers. It’s definitely not written for very young children, like much of Tan’s other work, but I do believe that there’s something everyone can take away from the story. Cicada is a hardworking, conscientious worker who does its’ work well, when asked, and never causes a scene. The unappreciation and the bullying are all themes that are symptomatic of the current time, where workers are considered just that. Cicada may be an insect, but you could interchange him with any human and the feelings there would be similar.

I love that the interpretation of the story is dependent on the reader, and I really did love the ending of the story. When the bleak, grey of Cicada’s business world fades to the more colourful, hopeful future, it’s a beautiful moment.

And yes, Cicada, I, too, sometimes laugh at the humans as well!

I rated Cicada 5 out of 5 stars.

(For more insight to Cicada by Shaun Tan, visit the author’s website.)

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