The prolific German picture-book creator here fills nearly 200 pages with contemplative questions—and corresponding images.
While some spreads pair a single thought and illustration in a verso/recto pattern, other ideas are examined over several pages. The book opens and concludes with children on chairs, first musing about growing up, later dreaming; also near the end are youth on a tightrope (acknowledging fear) and swing (aiming high). Some questions deal with the everyday, tangible, or familiar realm: “What if the winter never ends?”; “Why are they so mean to me?” Others are more existential: “When somebody is very old and dies, / and a tree grows out of his grave, / is he then the tree?” Teckentrup maintains interest with ever changing page designs punctuated with white space. Her beautifully textured, layered compositions are created by scanning and digitally composing art that has been printed and painted by hand. While the palette changes with the mood, the art is tonally consistent, lending an overall unity. Skin tones range from realistic (brown) to the fantastic (blue or decorated, i.e., a starlit silhouette). The variety of questions ensures that a wide swath of reflective readers will find something to ponder, whether it is “Will he like me?” as subsequent pages show two (possibly) boys getting closer to kissing or the rhetorical “Do birds like to fly?”
A handsome volume offering conversation starters, writing prompts, or thoughtful browsing pleasure. (Picture book. 6-adult)