For every “why” question, a “how” is sure to be close behind. And what better way to answer those “how’s” than to go to someone who has written extensively on the subject? And who has written more extensively on how (and why) than Catherine Ripley, author of How? The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places—and You!
How? is part diary, part science book, and part book of knowledge. It begins when a relative—Oma—visits a boy named Jake on his birthday and gives him a scrapbook to collect his memories. Then Oma, Jake and the family do lots of things to celebrate her arrival and his birthday, including visiting the beach, the library, and even a pet expo. Each place they visit fires Jake’s imagination and leaves him full-to-the-rim with questions.
But Jake’s questions aren’t random; they’re based on a single theme, depending upon where he and the family happen to be at the time. For instance, at his birthday party, Jake wonders why presents are wrapped and why we sing the birthday song. At the library, he wonders why some books are hardcover and some are paperback. At the pet expo, he has dozens of questions, including how parrots talk and whether dogs dream. And when the family accompanies Oma to the airport for her flight back home, Jake wonders why the security gate beeps and where in the world the suitcases go after they’re checked in.
This is a wonderfully useful book that presents logical questions (and answers) that every child has asked at one time or another. Ripley’s style of writing is kid-friendly, matter-of-fact, and tinged with humor as she presents fun questions, like how birthday parties got started, why balloons pop, and how books are made; and also serious questions, like why you throw up, how medicine is made, and why gasoline smells so strong.
True-to-form, illustrator Scot Ritchie generously jam-packs this book with bright, colorful and adorable illustrations. He draws faces that are soft and friendly, and uses primary colors that render his sketches playful, familiar, and safe. He even cleverly ends each chapter with a scrapbook summary (the scrapbook was a gift from Oma!) that recants Jake’s activities from beginning to end. This is sure to inspire little readers to consider the art of scrapbooking to make their own memories.
How? would be great in a science or reading classroom, and because of the scrapbooking element, it may even do well in an elementary English, literature or creative writing classroom. And of course it will do as well in a school library as it will in a child’s personal library.
If your child has questions (and what child doesn’t) you just can’t pass this book up. Add How? to your wish list today.
Best wishes and happy reading,