“Don’t tell a soul!” How often have we heard this, then said it ourselves? One unfortunate cat’s secret makes the rounds of every ear before returning to its owner’s.
The great irony of secrets is how easily they spread. In a pictorial story everyone can relate to, a cat tells a particularly intimate secret to a friend, noting at the end, “Don’t tell a soul!” Yet his feline friend does what so many of us do: he tells another friend. The bulldog tells the spaniel, who tells another cat, who tells a horse, and so on, until even the honeybee knows. And when it comes back to the first cat’s ear, still punctuated with the reminder “Don’t tell a soul!”, you can imagine how that poor cat must feel!
Author and illustrator Tung Chia employs more images and symbols than words in order to highlight the ironic path of a well-traveled secret, which passes from ear to ear like a game of “telephone.” Detailed graphite illustrations and a masterful use of suggestion and understatement make this a book to inspire thought as well as appreciation.