Instead of getting specific answers to each of her many questions, Isabella learns from Grandma that, often, gratitude is enough
The sole characters in the book first appear on the cover: light-skinned and rosy-cheeked and smiling at each other. The opening double-page spread is more dramatic: The pair’s dark silhouettes huddle at the top of an equally dark bluff, near a wildly crashing sea of broad, blue brush strokes. After asserting that her grandmother knows everything, Isabella asks her first question: “Tell me, why does the sea stop at the sand, instead of swallowing up the whole town with its watery mouth?” Grandma is silent, but with each page turn, Isabella asks further questions, which will resonate with most children—questions about our world that have been pondered for generations. Each page turn also reveals artwork that perfectly matches the text’s ability to combine serious wondering, humor, and grace. When Grandma finally speaks, she lets Isabella know that there is a way to deal with “all of these mysteries.” Together, the two of them shout thank-you’s to the sea, the wind, and other natural wonders. The sun sets over their Mediterranean-looking village (this is a Spanish import), and they head home. At bedtime, Isabella asks another unanswerable question, but this time, she has a ready response to the mystery. Too many grandparent-grandchild books are mawkishly sentimental. This one is reverent and transcendent.
The title says it all. (Picture book. 3-6)