Tweak Tweak

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Author: Eve Bunting

Illustrator: Sergio Ruzzier

Publishing Information: Clarion Books, 2011

Number of Pages: 40

Genre: Folktale


            Tweak Tweak tells the story of a baby elephant and her mother as they wander through the jungle and encounter a variety of different animals that live there as well. Tweak Tweak’s curiosity is piqued each time she sees an animal displaying a skill/behavior that she is unfamiliar with, and she asks her mother if she is capable of doing the same thing as each animal she sees. Although her mother explains that Tweak Tweak cannot do the same thing as the other animal, she enlightens her on the different skills/behaviors that Tweak Tweak is able to do that are just as unique.

The illustrations in the story are noteworthy, as I was able to see a variety of picture codes that could be applicable to different aspects of the illustrations. For example, each time Tweak Tweak asks her mother, “Can I do that?”, she is pictured on the right-hand side of the page, indicating a lack of security. Then, when her mother explains a skill that she is able to do instead of the one she has seen the other animal display, Tweak Tweak is pictured on the left-hand side of the page to demonstrate a greater sense of security now that she is reassured of her own talents. Additionally, there is always a round frame surrounding Tweak Tweak and her mother on the page that follows the mother’s explanation of Tweak Tweak’s unique skill, as they move on from their current location. This indicates a contentedness that is felt by Tweak Tweak and her mother after they are both aware of a skill that Tweak Tweak has that is unique to her, rather than focusing on the skill the other animal has. Furthermore, the illustrations are done in bright watercolors, and the facial expressions of the two elephants are always jovial.

The story teaches children that everyone has their own unique set of abilities, and provides them with a mirror to reflect on their own. The lack of a frame around the illustrations helps children to also put themselves into the scenario with Tweak Tweak, so they can reflect further on this lesson. Also, it teaches them that instead of focusing on what someone else can do that they cannot do, they should focus on those abilities that they do possess and make them unique.