Ah Ha!


Title: Ah Ha!

Author: Jeff Mack

Illustrator: Jeff Mack

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Year: 2013

Word Count: 36


Story Element WORD PLAY You’ve got to give credit to anyone who can write a complete picture book with 3 separate phrases, 36 words total, and only 2 letters! That’s just what Jeff Mack did! The words in this book are…


Each word takes on new meaning as the story unfolds. A frog escapes capture from a boy with a jar, a turtle, an alligator, and a flamingo. The illustrations play a huge role in telling this story, but it’s the words, the tone, and the meaning behind each one that begs this story to be read and reread and read again.

I bet you can figure out for yourself which of the three words are used in each scenario, and with which tone of voice you must read each one. Try this one for yourself.

A frog is floating in the water.

The frog finds a stone to sit on.

A child captures the frog in a jar.

The frog escapes.

Preschoolers will love hearing this story and playing out the parts themselves. I can see them hopping from couch to floor to carpet to chair as the repeat the same three words over and over.


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10 Responses to “Ah Ha!”

  1. SevenAcreSky February 26, 2015 at 9:37 PM #

    Great example of word play…and other elements. But shows how wordplay can be as simple as possible but still so effective. Great example, Juliana, thanks.


    • Juliana Lee February 26, 2015 at 9:39 PM #

      You know, I think the secret to effective word play might actually be simplicity! Thanks for the insight!


  2. lauraboffa February 26, 2015 at 7:42 PM #

    Who would have thought that two letters could have so much meaning? How cool! Thanks for sharing it.


  3. thelogonauts February 26, 2015 at 7:12 PM #

    Sounds like a really interesting transitional book from wordless to true picture book. Impressive.


    • Juliana Lee February 26, 2015 at 9:28 PM #

      Not sure what you mean by ‘true’ picture book. But with word counts going down, down, down, this one certainly is at the bottom of the word count ladder. 🙂


  4. ManjuBeth February 26, 2015 at 3:26 PM #

    This is the type of PB that only an Author / Illustrator can pull off.


    • Juliana Lee February 26, 2015 at 3:30 PM #

      Probably true. I’ve seen a few blogs talking about authors writing wordless or near wordless picture books with copious illustrator notes. But it’s very unusual. I think you may need to already have a relationship with an agent or editor who trusts your vision.


      • lauraboffa February 26, 2015 at 7:43 PM #

        Oh wow, I’d never heard of anyone doing that. Really interesting that they can pull it off!


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