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WHY? by Richard Torrey


by Richard Torrey & illustrated by Richard Torrey

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-156170-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

In this companion to Almost (2009), young Jack has shifted his attention from growing up to the equally existential Why? And he is just as sweet as in the earlier volume, with his great moony head and little dot eyes, all in the soft, powdery colors of 1950s twin-set sweaters. Torrey allows Jack a whole range of curiosity: His questions are funny (“Why do feet stink?”), whimsical (“Why do they put these holes in the crackers?”) and touched by pathos: Why, he wants to know as the tears start leaking, did his fish die? The author gives Jack an older brother who doesn’t exactly thwart Jack’s quest for meaning but doesn’t give it any satisfaction either. Unfortunately the same can be said for the book—so many questions, so few answers. Well, one answer: “That’s why,” which closes the book after Jack, slipping into sleep, poses his last query, “Why do I have to go to sleep if I’m not tired?” It’s a resolution as unsatisfying as “because.” Readers will have been there before; what they’ll really want to know is, “Why can’t I have a tail?” (Picture book. 4-8)