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BECAUSE by Richard Torrey


by Richard Torrey & illustrated by Richard Torrey

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-156173-3
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Since Torrey’s wobbly, irresistible artwork tells the whole story, there is no reason to ask any explicit questions—such as, “Why is half the cake eaten?” or, “Why are you covered in Band-Aids?”—but young Jack always has the answer.

Following on the heels of Almost (2009) and Why? (2010), this book nods toward a survey of that classic response, so elegant in its singularity: “Because.” Most of the time, however, Jack has a perfectly good reason for doing what he is doing, with a “because” tacked on to the start of the response. Why is he sitting in the laundry basket with the dirty laundry flung all about? “Because it’s my spaceship,” which could just as easily have been “It’s my spaceship.” The whole pleasure of the simple “because”—that if the person asking doesn’t know the answer, well, then, really…go fish—has been undermined. “Because” serves here as prelude to the preposterous or comical. “Because you cheated,” Jack tells the dog that he has sent to the corner, a game of checkers left unfinished on the floor.

But still, because or no because, it’s a pleasure to see Jack learning to negotiate his way through the world, from longing questions to innocent answers that reveal far too much plain honesty. (Picture book. 4-8)