Doctor X-Ray, a megalomaniac with an X-ray blaster and an indestructible battle suit, crashes through the ceiling of the local mall.
Innocent patrons scatter to safety. But one curious child gazes directly at the bully and asks: “Why?” At first, Doctor X-Ray answers with all the menace and swagger of a supervillain. The curious child, armed with only a stuffed bear and clad in a bright red dress, is not satisfied with the answers and continues asking: “Why?” As his pale cheeks flush with emotion, Doctor X-Ray peels back the onion of his interior life, unearthing powerful reasons behind his pursuit of tyranny. This all sounds heavy, but the humorously monotonous questions coupled with free-wheeling illustrations by Keane set a quick pace with comical results. At 60 pages, the book has room to follow this thread back to the diabolical bully’s childhood. Most of the answers go beyond a child’s understanding—parental entertainment between the howl of the monosyllabic chorus. It is the digital artwork, which is reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s, that creates a joyful undercurrent of rebellion with bold and loose brush strokes, patches of color, and expressive faces. The illustrations harken to a previous era save for the thoroughly liberated Asian child speaking truth to power.
A funny David-versus-Goliath story with a one-word question serving as the slingshot. (Picture book. 3-5)