Book review: Du Iz Tak?, by Carson Ellis

Ellis, Carson. Du Iz Tak?. Candlewick Press, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780763665302. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7.5Q9

ellis-du-iz-takThis is Ellis’ debut picture book as both author and illustrator. It is a beautiful book that tells the story of a group of insect friends and their various enterprises over a year in a small piece of woodland. It is told in a made up language that Ellis has clearly put a lot of thought into. It rolls off the tongue like a familiar language, and it is possible to guess what the insects are saying for the most part. I think this would be an interesting book to read with young kids whose language skills are still developing. At a young age, language learners are very flexible and can assimilate new vocabulary and patterns more easily than adults. The artwork is lovely and showcases the insects (some dressed in beautiful hats and clothes). One of my favorite spreads is a night scene with a caterpillar pupae being serenaded by a violin playing friend. Verdict: This book will be enjoyed by both children and adults for it’s simple, joyful story and it’s illustration style. (A note: Ellis is the wife of Colin Meloy who wrote the Wildwood series. Ellis illustrated them. They both live in Portland.)

January 2017 review by Carol Schramm.

[Editor’s note: Du Iz Tak? was one of four picture books to receive recognition as a 2017 Caldecott Honor Book.]

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