Du Iz Tak? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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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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1 Response to Du Iz Tak? – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. What a creative and fun book. I love the invented language! Great title because kids can figure it out.

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