Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs

Yaks yak over tea, bats bat baseballs and steers steer bumper cars in the thoroughly delightful picture book Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs by the Newbery Medal-winning Linda Sue Park (A Single Shard).

Children will giggle over this entertaining parade of animal homographs (words with different meanings that are spelled and pronounced the same, such as the animal slug and the verb slug)--but illustrator Jennifer Black Reinhardt (The Inventor's Secret) takes the witty wordplay to another dimension with her elaborate watercolor-and-ink paintings of apes aping, ducks ducking and fish fishing. In "Flounders flounder," five flounders are mid-crisis underwater, with thought bubbles that say "I did not mean to do that" and "I don't know where I am." One badger badgers another in hopes of procuring his apple. Each skillfully composed spread includes a definition of the noun that's used as a verb ("to flounder=to be helpless"), and a word-pair guide in the back explains word origins of both the animal's name (badger) and the action (to badger).

Young readers will no doubt start "parroting" all these marvelous new words, from the hogs hogging apples to the crows crowing, "It's good to be me." Giddy and glorious. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness
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