Title: Du Iz Tak?
Author/Illustrator: Carson Ellis
Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
Today’s book was a toughie to review at our house. We had two clear teams:
Lily & Mama: Team “That was fun!”
Vivi & Daddy: Team “That made no sense and I really didn’t care for it at all.”
So, if you haven’t heard of Carson Ellis’ groundbreaking book, Du Iz Tak? let me fill you in. It’s all about bugs who speak their own buggy language that, according to my husband, sounds vaguely German. The ‘language’ is entirely made up, but contextually makes perfect sense. For instance, a ‘gladdenboot’ is a flower and we know this because the word is introduced when the flower first blooms.
The story itself is pretty simple: the bugs encounter a tiny shoot, it grows into a plant, the bugs decide to build a fort in it. They borrow a ladder from my favourite pill-bug and yours, Icky. A spider moves in, but is promptly eaten by a passing bird. The plant blooms into a flower. The weather begins to change and Icky and his equally delightful wife (Ooky) leave. The other bugs follow suit. A beautiful moth hatches and flies in an enchanting dance. Spring comes again and a new shoot appears, with a new bug wondering, Du Iz Tak?
I liked this book. I liked the creativity of it, the language creation and use, and most of all, the art. I loved the art.
Lily thought the book was hilarious and also pored over the pages, examining each picture.
Vivi found it frustrating to enjoy the nonsensical language without LITERALLY STOPPING ME AT EVERY WORD AND QUESTIONING ITS MEANING.
Karl thought the story was too simplistic. He also found the art repetitive, in that it was basically the same picture/camera angle/etc. with the addition and subtraction of artistic elements throughout the story. He also had trouble accepting the made up language. Basically, he found it hard to connect with the story on every level.
I tried to explain it as a ‘lifecycle story,’ but Karl stuck to his original assessment: not for him.
So, from team Lily and Mama, 4 Ookies out of 5.
From team Vivi and Karl, we have a rating of 2/10.
There’s no accounting for taste.