A 2017 Caldecott Honor Book
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. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su!
It’s a genuinely charming story with brain-tickling interest from the dialogue, and it earns a satisfying edge from the silent and decisive victory over the spider. Ellis is best known as an illustrator, and her oversized gouache and ink spreads deftly balance playfulness and precision, intricacy and airy background...Readers-aloud will want a practice run to ensure their intonation carries the meaning of the words, but it will all make perfect and pleasing sense to imaginative listeners.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Using intricate illustrations supported by spare dialogue in an invented language, Ellis elegantly weaves the tale of several square feet of ground in the insect world as the seasons pass...This is a title that calls for multiple readings, as there is something new to be discovered each time. Perfect for one-on-one or small group sharing.
—School Library Journal
Viewers follow the unfurling of an exotic woodland plant through the actions and invented language of beautifully coiffed and clothed insects...This is certain to ignite readers' interest and imaginings regarding their natural surroundings. Following the minute changes as the pages turn is to watch growth, transformation, death, and rebirth presented as enthralling spectacle.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)