Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Story About Life

Life is joyful, mysterious, tragic and comic. It is also temporary and cyclical. It always begins again. In the picture book Du Iz Tak?, author/illustrator Carson Ellis manages to capture all of these themes in 47 pages.

In the beginning, winter is giving way to spring and a pair of damselflies discover a small green shoot unfurling out of the brown earth. They wonder, presumably because they speak in a made up bug language, just what this strange new arrival is. Next, a group of beetles investigate the newcomer. The beetles see potential in the new phenomenon, which is in fact a plant. They borrow a ladder from a friend and build a tree fort. A drama plays out, witnessed by the denizens of a tiny bug world, that mirrors the seasons and of life. The bugs form a familiar society. They work, play, and suffer loss together.

Watch the book trailer:

The book is a little like the little green shoot on the first page. At first you look at it sort of bemused and think, “what in the world?” but then it sucks you in. It speaks to the universality of the circumstances and the emotions depicted in the story that even though you don’t speak the language, you still understand.

Kids will have a great time using the illustrations to figure out the language. The illustrations are very simple. The basic scene is the same on almost every two-page spread. Only the details change. An entire world is built within those details. Your kids will want to return to this world again and again.

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