Curious minds are rewarded with curious answers in a fantastical bedtime book by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault.
Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”
I love the way the father in this book responds to his daughter’s bedtime questions with creativity to match her curiosity. It makes me wish I had thought of such a thing all those evenings when my responses devolved to a refrain of, “Just go to bed. We can talk about it in the morning.” The father’s imaginative responses give his daughter something to think about as she is falling asleep that straight-forward scientific responses do not. By the end of the story I caught myself pondering similarly creative answers to my children’s questions. That makes for a good book, one that motivates us to creativity and improves out interactions.
Isabelle Arsenault’s Illustrations are charcoal sketches with a limited color palette on most pages. Stylistically this gives the story the same feel as an old time classic, like Harry the Dirty Dog. The story also starts simply with a scenario very familiar to parents: endless questions from a child to delay bedtime. Despite what you might assume from the title, from the beginning the answers are novel and witty and only get better from there. I loved seeing this father’s answer to what a black hole is. This will become a new favorite at our home.
Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator whose work has won many awards and much praise from critics. Her books include Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, and Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book. The poetry expressed through Isabelle Arsenault’s graphic universe, the gentleness of her lines and the overall charm of her books have made her one of Quebec’s best-known and most esteemed illustrators.