Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis (Walker Books)

cvx7iylweaeh_9t Don’t be deceived by the title of this book.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Du Iz Tak?‘ is perhaps a beautifully produced Eastern European picture book, but no, this clever and witty book is written in damselfly speak.

cvx7i8fw8aa6hqq Loosely translated, ‘Du Iz Tak?‘ or ‘What Is That?’ is an ornately created and empathetically illustrated story, based around a completely fabricated, but tunefully melodic language.

As a new shoot appears, the delicately detailed flies congregate around it, questioning it and exploring it further.


Soon, a plethora of intricately illustrated insects are making themselves at home in this ever increasing plant.

Even a pesky spider decides to makes itself comfortable, much to the obvious dismay of its current inhabitants. But not for long…


Each layer to this dramatically unfurling story, are added to at the turn of every page.

The scene builds to a crescendo with the addition of the tiniest, most subtle details, but each with their important part to play in this story of life, growth, transformation, death and ultimately re-birth.

cvx7kkgwiae3yeiWe loved the use of this newly invented, gobbledygook language and how it opens up interpretation to allow children to provide their own creative narrative alongside this totally alien speech.

Another resounding success from Carson Ellis and one we will enjoy using with our pre school children to see how they interpret the delightful dialogue.


One thought on “Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis (Walker Books)

  1. I found this book in the bookstore the other day and spent a good ten minutes flipping through it, it’s absolutely fascinating. I’m a linguist so besides loving children’s books, I love languages and the idea of playing with a conlang in a children’s book just gets me so excited! This book definitely made it onto the gift list for me.

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