By Shaun Tan, Hachette Australia, 2018.
Cicada is written very differently to other children’s books I’ve read. Its staccato text is reminiscent of people who have English as a second language. Tok Tok Tok!
We feel sorry for Cicada as he works hard all day for very little pay and poor conditions. He is bullied by his coworkers. Tok Tok Tok!
The repetition of Tok Tok Tok! works well. During the pages where Cicada is tormented by his life and his workplace, the illustrations only appear on the righthand page with the simple text on a white lefthand page. Until Cicada retires from his office job…then we see full-colour double-page spreads with no text, where we watch cicada transform! This is also an unusual approach to a kids picture book.
The illustrations by Shaun Tan, as always, are artistic masterpieces.