Ru daddin doodin unk furt! Ta ta oodas! Voobeck!
If you are confused, believe me, so was I! Those who read my reviews might remember that I’m a sucker for children’s books. So, I thought reviewing an award-winning picture book might fit the bill.
“Du Iz Tak?” by Carson Ellis is a Caldecott Honor Book for 2017. The Caldecott Medal is given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The winner of this year’s award was checked out, so I chose “Du Iz Tak?” one of the four 2017 Honor Books. I opened the book and began reading quickly.
None of the book is in English. The author created her own language for the book, relying on simple art and illustration to tell the story. To say I was underwhelmed was an understatement.
Then, at a library department head meeting, I was expressing my incredulity at the book and began to read it aloud to them. Somehow, something about reading it aloud gave it more meaning and made it interesting and delightful.
This is the type of book you can go back to again and again, picking up more details each time you go through the book. The youngest of readers or listeners will enjoy the absurdity of hearing this language and finding out what happens. Older readers will enjoy decoding, from the text itself, inference or the illustrations, that there really is a language here, and figuring out what the text actually says.
Either way, it’s a great learning activity to do with your children or grandchildren.
“Du Iz Tak?” is the story of a two damselflies who watch the shoot of a tiny plant unfurl. As they watch it grow, they wonder if they can create a fort within its leaves. Their work isn’t without problems as they are invaded by a spider and a ravenous bird.
In addition to being a wonderful story about the bugs’ creation, this also shows the cycle of life and seasons. It ends with a picture of hope.
My opinion of this book has changed from “flat-out weird” to “charming.” So charming, in fact, that when I served as a guest-reader in my daughter’s third-grade classroom last week, guess what book I brought?
Speaking of picture books at the library, here’s something new coming to Joplin Public Library. When we move to the new building (which should be late April or early May!), we are also re-organizing our picture book collection. Currently, they are shelved by the author’s last name in traditional library-ese.
However, kids usually want to find picture books based on what they are about, not who wrote them. So, finding books about dogs, or dinosaurs, or trucks, or families or whatever they enjoy can be a challenge. We will be changing this and shelving picture books by topic. Tammie Benham, our Children’s Librarian, has put all the picture books into about 10 major categories, with smaller categories in each. So, for example, all the books about animals will be together, with dogs, cats and zoo animals shelved separately within that section.
We hope this will make it simpler for your child to search for “just the right book.”