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THE BIG QUESTION by Wolf Erlbruch


by Wolf Erlbruch & illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch & translated by Michael Reynolds

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-933372-03-6
Publisher: Europa Editions

A Bologna Book Fair prizewinner, this deceptively simple import offers one-line answers of widely varying scope to the implied question, Why am I here on Earth? Erlbruch never waxes portentous: For a bird, it’s, “To sing your song”; to a cross-eyed dog, it’s to bark; for a cat, “to purr”; in a pilot’s view, it’s to “kiss the clouds.” Death, portrayed as a nearly abstract figure in a spotted clown suit, answers, “You are here to love life,” and for a powerful boxer, it’s, “To step into the ring.” But even the soldier (“You are here to obey”) and a corpulent man (“To eat well”) are depicted with a light touch, and a duck responds, “I don’t have the foggiest idea.” Illustrated in crayon-and-paper collage on plain, cream colored backgrounds, this ends on a cozy note from Mommy (“You’re here because I love you”), offers more open-ended answers than the likes of Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree (1964) and is certain to leave even younger readers in a reflective mood. (Picture book. 6-10)