Du Iz Tak? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Du Iz Tak?

Author & Illustrator: Carson Ellis

Publisher: Candlewick, 2016

Ages: 5-8

Themes: possibility, drama, invention

Genre: fiction

48 pages

Awards: Caldecott Honor Book, 2017


Du iz tak?

Ma nazoot.


Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su! (Goodreads)

Why I like this book:

I am a linguist, so the first thing I did was try and work out some of the grammar rules of this playful, invented language. It is a delight on the lips and the ears to read aloud. And, just with a wordless book, it invites small readers to invest even more of themselves in the storytelling as well as being able to discern and decode the gist of what is being said. It is a one-of-a-kind marvelous book, with outrageously gorgeous bug world illustrations and stellar use of white space.

It’s warm and lyrical, creative and subtle, brilliant and droll, I believe kids will love it.


Have students create a few scenes of a story using a made up language!

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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Gay Pride Month PB, MG and YA Book Recommendations

I have been blogging for seven years, and find my summer hiatus essential to my blogging energy. Plus my tendency to use the summer to travel far and wide doesn’t lend itself to regular access to wifi and social media. I plan on using the summer to make final edits to my WIP and start subbing that to agents, as well as start novel #4! (just in case ya think it’s all about pina coladas, beaches and hammocks).

Since its inception, my blog has focused on diversity in all its forms in children’s literature, and having read a number of superb LGBTQIA books over the last couple of years, I wanted to give you a few of Miss Marple’s favorites to celebrate this month, and/or as great summer reads. Click the link for the reviews.

Heather Has Two Mommies (PB)

Worm Loves Worm (PB)

Call Me Tree/Llamame Arbol (PB)

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (PB)

Sparkle Boy (PB)

Star Crossed (MG)

George (MG)

Gracefully Grayson (MG)

Lily and Dunkin (MG)

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (YA) 

Georgia, Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit (YA)

Girl Man’s Up (YA)

Rumble (YA)

I am J (YA)

What We Left behind (NA/YA)

None of the Above (YA)
Jess, Chunk and The Road Trip to Infinity (YA)

HAPPY PRIDE YA’LL and have a wondrous summer. See you in September!

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Hush That Hullabaloo – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Hush that Hullabaloo

Author: Donna Marie Merritt

Illustrator: Chris Demarest

Publisher:  MacLaren-Chocrane, June 20th, 2017

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Scottish brogue, birthday celebrations, rhyme, grandparents


Hullabaloo! Hullabaloo!
Hush that hullabaloo!
Michty me! What to do?
Hush that hullabaloo!


Grandpa is fretting at all the unusual noise and mess in the house, and Grandma keeps reassuring him that it is just the bairns. Indeed, his four red-headed grandchildren are busy creating the bestest of birthday cakes for their grandpa. Despite his protests, Grandma makes sure that he dresses in his birthday kilt as his annoyance begins to transform into pleasure at the suspicious but delicious smells now appearing. 

Of course, the neighbors join in with flutes and fiddles and some highland dancing. as well as cake eating to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday. 

Why I like this book:

This book is a joyful and colorful celebration of Scottish dialect and family. 

This is a story that begs, nae, insists to be read aloud. New words, yes, but fun to articulate with some hard ch’s and rolling rs–and with lots of repetition. The reader and the children will have fun practicing their Scottish brogue with stanzas like the Grandma’s refrain:

Wheesht, wheesht,
It’s only the wee ones.
Wheesht, wheesht,
Only the wee ones.

There is a 2-page glossary at the back with which all readers would be encouraged to familiarize themselves before reading. Demarest’s illustrations are vibrant and full of energy befitting the cadence and movement in the text. 


This is a great choice simply for a fun group read, but also for any units on Scotland or dialects. 

Have your students create their own plaids

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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