The Little Cicada and the Old Ox

A lyrical picture book by two internationally renowned award winners

Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Cao Wenxuan, well known for his books – for example The Grass House, Bronze or Sunflower –, has joined forces with award winning and internationally acclaimed illustrator Britta Teckentrup. Their book The Little Cicada and the Old Ox is not only a beautiful and touching ode to unconditional friendship but also about slowing down and letting nature determine time.

When a cicada saves the life of an old, stubborn ox, a lifelong friendship takes its beginning, as from that day on, the two are inseparable. Often, the cicada rests on an apple tree but even more often, it lands on one of the horns of the old ox or on his back and accompanies him to the meadow on the bank of the river. They spend all of their time together until the cicada has to leave this world … The old ox promises to watch over the cicada’s children. After the larva’s have gone underground (like cicadas are known to do), the old ox stands guard by the apple tree, day and night, year after year. And one night, the little cicadas finally emerge from the earth and climb up the apple tree, one by one. The old ox watches them and marvels and can’t get enough of them. But at some point, his eyes close. Perhaps he has fallen asleep. Or maybe he is already on his way to heaven, looking for his little cicada …


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Further information

  • In cooperation with Jieli Publishing House, China
  • Chinese Language (simplified characters) is not available, all other rights are available
  • English translation available

The author:

Cao Wenxuan is a professor of Chinese literature and children’s literature. He is the author of several celebrated books for young readers. His fluid, poetic prose depicts honest, sometimes raw, and often melancholy moments of life. He has also received significant recognition for his academic research and teaching in the field of children’s literature, and he was the first Chinese author to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

The illustrator:

Britta Teckentrup, born in 1969 in Hamburg, studied Visual Arts in London. She is the author and illustrator of many picture books as well as non-fiction picture books and has received numerous awards. Her books have been translated into a lot of different languages.

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