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Du Iz Tak?

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,245 Ratings  ·  593 Reviews
The creator of Home turns a droll eye to the natural world, with gorgeous art and a playful invented language.

Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Candlewick Press
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Popular Answered Questions
Gabi No, its a book that teaches:
a. That you can work out what a language means even if you don't understand it.
b. To enjoy detailed illustrations and how…more
No, its a book that teaches:
a. That you can work out what a language means even if you don't understand it.
b. To enjoy detailed illustrations and how plot can be developed through pictures.
c. Appreciation of nature.
There are no trees in the book. The scale is smaller than that.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis is a children's picture book about a group of bugs and how they discover a new sprouting plant. They watch it grow and change through the seasons.

What makes this book so unique is the very unique and imaginative language that the author has made up. It's a great way to get kids thinking and makes them work on decoding skills. The illustrations are also very detailed and intriguing.

Overall, it's just a fun book for children to enjoy.

This is a Caldecott 2017 honorable m
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5ish stars.

I will seriously have so much fun with this book. I can already picture myself using this in some of my classrooms. It's written completely in an invented language, but we can more or less infer the meaning of the dialogue. "More or less" still leaves lots of room for imagination and interpretation. "Du iz tak?" might mean "What is this?" or maaaybe it means "Are you yummy?" Who's to say it can't be either? In that sense it lets us as the readers become the narrators. There are lots
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the art for this book. Both pages made up the picture which made it feel panoramic. It was very buggy and insecty which is perfect. It feels like something in bug life.

I started reading this and felt - I don't know what it's saying. Then I let go and went with it. Reading with the kids they started laughing at the silly words and we began chanting them together. They would giggle and yell out some strange bug phrase. We began saying them like the bugs might and give them characters. The
Honestly, Carson Ellis' absolutely delightful Du Iz Tak? (What is That?) is for me not only a perfect picture book both illustratively and textually, but is also a book which I dearly wish I could rate with more than the five star maximum allowed by Goodreads (as in my opinion, Du Iz Tak? is a ten star offering, a glowingly amazing and evocative homage to life, to the seasons, to imagination and fun, and to have a text, to have a narrative that presents an invented language, well, for linguistic ...more
Bart Moeyaert
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Als je op Facebook wil zien hoe het met je vrienden gaat, moet je op dit moment eerst een harnas aantrekken. Gewoon scrollen gaat misschien nog wel als je geen pantser draagt, maar dan mag je echt bijna niks lezen en ook geen filmpjes aanklikken. Zodra je gaat inzoomen heb je een harnas nodig. Artikels, meningen, filmpjes. In geen tijd word je nerveus, boos, ongerust. Ik gebruik met opzet de woorden in mineur.

Ik weet niet hoe je de voorbije weken hebt doorgebracht. Zelf was ik sinds FBM16 in okt
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely illustrations of the insect world, a look through the seasons and into their tiny log houses and tree house lives. The made up language wasn't so enjoyable for us as it seems to be many readers.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would say that after having now read this approximately 5,000 times I am not only an expert in the charming nonsense language Carson Ellis uses to tell the story of a community of bugs making a startling discovery that leads to wonderful adventures but also a fan of the author for life.

Du Iz Tak? has a sweet and simple premise. A flower begins to grow beside a fallen log and various adorable insects fascinated and confused by its size and ever increasing splendor ask each other "Du Iz Tak?" (w
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
Yall... I want to get it. But I don't get it.
I want to say it would make for a great pre-literacy or ESL book or something innovative like that.
I also want to say that I'm just in love with the illustrations.
But... none of those things. Maybe someone can explain this to me later.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It's wonderful to witness something that feels truly new. Bugs with human-like faces and qualities, invented language, silent/musical interludes that serve as moments to pause and reflect. A book about discovering something new. That new something grows, is threatened, triumphs, and decays just to start again, like the seasons, like everything. So much to look at and notice when the words are unfamiliar, not just to early readers but to anyone. So much to admire and soak up when discovering some ...more
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My kids and I love DU IZ TAK? ! My children, ages 6 and 8, spent a long time trying to decode the bug language and now use it in their everyday conversation. I'm hearing a lot of, "Su!" and "There's a gladdenboot!" I had the privilege to meet the author in person during a book reading, and she was lovely and kind and had so many interesting insights about the process of making this gorgeous book. Definitely a story to be treasured and read over and over again.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I was a child or 'tween I would have insisted this gets 6 stars. Art and language, characters and theme, all are marvelously enchanting and would have captivated me.

Now, well, maybe it's just me, just today. I think I'll have to try again someday, especially if you, my goodreads friends, tell me that you loved it.

Second read Dec. 17, review stands. Love the concept, art is neither ugly nor appealing imo, good for kids who are patient or need to practice same, but too hard for me right now.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’d heard a lot of buzz about Carson Ellis’s picture book DU IZ TAK? Honestly, I found it frustrating. I was DESPERATE to figure out the secret language. I’m a front-row, note-taking, turn-it-on-time kind of student and this book was a test!!! I would not fail! So… I did it. I deciphered the code. After doing my HW, I brought the book to my kindergarten enrichment class and read it with emphasis, hand gestures and lots of silly faces. The kids went WILD!!! They LOVED IT!!!! Afterwards we gave ou ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is definitely one to read aloud. I flipped through it, marvelling at Carson Ellis's always-gorgeous illustrations, but skimmed the text, thinking, "ok, huh." Then I read it aloud to my kids, and they were laughing so much, so completely delighted by this bug language. Sometimes they'd ask, "Wait, what does that mean?" and we'd look at the page and figure it out. This book is amazing in so many different ways, and I see something new and charming every time I read it. Nothing like this has b ...more
The invented language is delightful (it kind of reminds me of German, haha) and the illustrations work well to tell the story. I am just not a fan of the art style:

Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had THE BEST storytime experience reading this book. It was slow, contemplative, and the perfect amount of silly. The kids noticed details and patterns and really engaged with the story, and I had tons of fun doing my best buggy impressions. Su! Su! SU!
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

First thoughts:

I love this book!! It is all wonderful strangeness, fun, language and innovation (not to mention Carson Ellis' gorgeous artwork).

Full of awesome. I will have to try this one out at a storytime with an able and willing class!

Longer review:

THIS BOOK. Du Iz Tak? is up there as one of my surprise favourites of the year. I became familiar with Carson Ellis' gorgeous illustrative work after reading her picture book Home, and poring over her illustrations for The Mysterious Benedict So
Andrea Lorenz
I had to pick this up because I'd been hearing a lot of buzz about it. Du Is Tak? is a super interesting concept book. It's the story of several bugs who see a little plant growing and want to know what it is. It's not as straightforward as all that though; Ellis wrote the book in a nonsense language, one that can be decoded by reading the pictures and looking at the context of the word usage. This would be interesting to use in storytime - one with unconventional books, like wordless books. I a ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The more I think about this book, and upon another re-read, I think it might be my favorite new picture book I've read this year. It's strange, and funny, and there are bugs with silly names and there's an INVENTED LANGUAGE that you have to DECIPHER! Also, the illustrations are lovely and there are lots of little things to look at and take in. What's not to love? It's not a storytime book, but it would be a perfect book to share with one or two others, pore over together, and decipher together. ...more
Michele Knott
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a book I would really like to read with kids, because I'm not sure how they will like it. It might go over well, and others may be bored. I found myself getting frustrated with the made up words (hello ELL learners....) and not even concentrating on them, just using the illustrations.
Since this book is really carried by the illustrations, it will be interesting to see if the Caldecott committee is looking at this.
This may be written in a made up language, but the story is so intuitive, and the body language of the insects so expressive, that you will have no problem understanding every word. This is a book I'll be giving to all the little children in my life, both for the delightful story as well as the gentle and delightful illustrations.
Olivia Henderson
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what to think of this book. I love the illustrations, featuring the animals represented as human like facial features. However, I became frustrated because I couldn't work out what the words meant, although the pictures were the main focus for understanding the story. I feel like I would have to re-read the book a few times and try and decipher what some of the words mean to fully understand the story. The book tells the story of the life cycle of a plant and the butterfly, ending w ...more
This is a beautiful picture book that tells a story of a circle of life. A tiny plant begins to grow as neighboring insects live their lives nearby. They admire the growing shoot, build a fort in it, and experience happiness and sadness through the course of the season. Written in an invented language, readers really need to focus on context to determine what's happening. This would be great to share with students to talk about making inferences, determining theme, and developing vocabulary skil ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
A beautiful layout and organization for a story where the words are nonsensical. It's about a blooming flower and the damselflies and other bugs and insects around the blooming flowers who take up residence. I read it aloud to my seven-year-olds who enjoyed the images including the bird swooping in, the spider creeping in, and the last few pages as they wanted to see what the resolution was.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the nonsensical words-- I actually would have preferred wordless but I get th
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
The illustrations are really cute, but initially the made up language threw me off. However, my 6 year old immediately started guessing what the words translated to and the whole point of the book became obvious. She's very sure that gladdenboot means flower and voobeck either means spider or is the spider's name. She jumped right into trying to figure it out without prompting.

Really a cool book. More of an activity than just a picture book.
Molly Dettmann
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love the illustrations and how they carry the story of this bug community as they find many uses with a growing plant. The little details make it fun and a worthy reread and the bug language could make for some fun reading aloud.
Julie Seifert
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I might have to upgrade this one to five stars. When I first read it myself, I thought it was interesting and cute but not *amazing.* But I read it with my students and they LOST their minds over it. They loved guessing what the words meant and laughing at the funny sounds. So maybe five stars...
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
My daughters would have loved this as kids. They thoroughly enjoyed confusing their mother with Spoonerisms, backwards words, words in other languages (predominantly German, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian) - all in the same sentence.
Shu Xiao
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brenda Kahn
If you want to shake things up during read aloud time, try this fun book. There's so much to see and talk about. Your kids will thank you for it.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous book! So full of whimsy.

2017 Caldecott Honor
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The possibilities of texts in a non-language 1 1 Mar 28, 2018 06:43AM  
Picture Book Stud...: Du Iz Tak? 1 1 Mar 26, 2018 11:04PM  
Carson Ellis previously illustrated The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket and Dillweed’s Revenge by Florence Parry Heide. She also collaborated with her husband, Colin Meloy, on the best-selling Wildwood series. Carson Ellis lives with her family outside Portland, Oregon.
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