Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Values: Friendship, Inclusion, Collaboration, Creativity, Curiosity.

Du Iz Tak? is a book that was on my wish list for a long time before I finally got my own copy. It is great for inference as children have to 'translate' what the characters are saying in their bug language by looking at linguistic features such as repetition, use of punctuation, body language and facial expressions.

Du Iz Tak? (What is that?) is the story of some insects who see a sapling. They wonder what it is and are amazed when it grows and develops. They use the flower as a treehouse, before a large spider appears and threatens the peaceful life of the insects. As the story continues, you see the differing emotions between the insects clearly through their word choices and body language. I studied this text with Years 3 and 4 and they were able to articulate what they thought the characters were saying and justify it with evidence.

In terms of Values, this text is all about friendship, inclusion and collaboration. It is imaginative and has themes of curiosity and creativity. The insects work together to explore their new found plant and include others in doing so. On one page, we see the insects knocking on the door of an woodlouse and showing him the plant with pointed arms. He is illustrated in a way that we can infer he is older than the others, yet they still include him in their excitement. They then work together to build their treehouse.

In class, we had a discussion about what we would do if we saw something unusual sprouting from the ground. How would we react? What might we be saying? Why would we want everyone to be involved? What would we turn our newfound treasure into?

Every time I read this book, I find more and more clues that help me understand the characters to a greater degree. The children loved the puzzle of working out what the characters were saying and the linguistic devices they employed to do so went far beyond their years.

An unusual book and definitely a timeless classic for picture books of the future. I grabbed mine from Blackwells in Oxford, which is an AMAZING book emporium if you are ever nearby.

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