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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs. Written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Raincoast, 2016. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"Yaks yak.
to yak = to talk.

Dogs dog dogs.
to dog = to track or
to follow.

Badgers badger.
to badger = to bother

For today, these are my three favorite spreads of the eighteen presented. The yaks, cross-legged and carefully holding their tea cups, are having an animated conversation about who knows what? One listens intently to the other. Three dogs, noses to the ground and following in close formation, have tails wagging as they explore the ground beneath them. Two badgers, one with an apple, while the other harangues with its need for that very same apple and all the reasons it should be shared or given away.

How clever is this book when you are wanting to build vocabulary and grow a child's understanding of the world? The collaboration of text and image is just right! The definitions are set in strategic places on each double page spread to help with understanding. Back matter offers two pages of notes about the derivation of the animal's name and the meaning for the action word that matches it.

The watercolor and ink images are funny and full of expression, adding context for the seemingly simple writing. If you ask me tomorrow about this clever book, I am sure I will have some new favorites ... think Bats bat, Ducks duck and Steers steer. Enjoy!

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