Just Because

Ages: 4 - 8Publisher: Candlewick Press Author: Mac BarnettIllustrator: Isabelle Arsenault


In this strikingly designed bedtime treat by Mac Barnett (Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, the Kid Spy Scholastic series, etc.), after a little girl is all tucked in and the lights are out, she stalls her dad’s final goodnight with a familiar ploy: asking questions that require some parental brain-cudgeling (“Why is the ocean blue?, Why do the leaves change color?”). Children will get a kick out of Dad’s wildly fanciful answers (“What is the rain? The tears of flying fish”), although those on the younger side of the recommended age range may need a reminder that it’s all just for fun (and parents might want to be prepared with a few factual responses.) Dad’s moving answer to his daughter’s last question—“Why do we have to sleep?”—gives readers a resonant thought to carry with them. Award-winning Canadian artist Isabelle Arsenault matches Barnett’s imaginatively off-the-wall text with evocative gouache, pencil, and watercolor illustrations.

Lynne Heffley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.

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