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Beware the Jabberbook!

Or don’t beware. Be excited. Picture books with made-up words that make complete sense are my new favorite trend.

portis_best frints in the whole universe  ellis_du iz tak
There’s Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette “Kleebo” Portis (Roaring Brook, July 2016; received a starred review in the May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine), about two residents of Boborp who have been best frints since they were little blobbies. There’s no Boborpian glossary here, leaving readers to figure things out for themselves — and then feel pretty good about it.

And there’s Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis (Candlewick, October 2016; receiving a September/October 2016 starred review), which takes nonsense a step further: there’s obviously tak-ing going on, and clearly there’s unk gladdenboot, but there’s not a word of English (or, as far as I know, any other language), so it’s up to readers to figure out what it all means from the scrivadelly pictures — and the punctuation.

And as Lewis Carroll might put it, that’s pretty frabjous.

Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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