________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 36 . . . . May 18, 2012


How? The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places– and You!

Catherine Ripley. Illustrated by Scot Ritchie.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2012.
192 pp., hardcover & ePDF, $19.95 (hc.), $19.95 (ePDF).
ISBN 978-1-926973-24-1 (.), ISBN 978-1hc-926973-25-8 (Epdf).

Subject Heading:
Children’s questions and answers-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 3-9.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4



How do I get sick?

It all has to do with germs. Germs are microbes – tiny living things that are too small to see without a microscope. While some microbes are helpful, such as the ones that live in your tummy and help digest your food, germ microbes make you sick. Like all microbes, germs are always trying to multiply, or make more of themselves, to keep living. When germs move into your body and start multiplying – FAST – your body fights back. You run a fever, which helps fight off the germs. But it sure makes you feel yucky. Sniffle! Cough! Ah-choo!

How many good things can I say about How? Let’s begin with Scot Ritchie’s wonderfully playful illustrations. This nonfiction book organizes its questions around a fictitious visit from Jake and Lizzie’s Oma. It took me a minute to recognize Ritchie’s depiction of a grandmother. She has stylishly cut red hair and looks more than fit enough to keep up with her two active grandchildren as they investigate almost 100 questions. I have nothing against the cuddly, gray-haired grandmas of so many picture book stories, but this Oma is a refreshing change. Ritchie’s colourful, cartoon-style drawings portray a variety of races and ethnicities in the characters in the storyline.

     Author Catherine Ripley’s questions are organized around the different places that Jake and Lizzie take their Oma – beginning with Jake’s birthday party, the library, a pet expo, Jake’s sick bed, a road trip to the beach, and finally the airport to say good-bye.

     In addition to “how” questions, “why”, “who”, “does”, “what happens when”, and “where” questions are included also. By incorporating higher level questioning into the narrative, Ripley models good communication skills. The child-friendly answers will give adults the support needed to discuss a wealth of different topics. The table of contents is titled “List of Questions”, organized in chapters: "Happy Birthday!", “Off to the Library”, “Pets, Pets, Pets!”, “Feeling Sick”, “Road Trip”, “At the Beach”, and “Airport Good-byes”. The book ends with a comprehensive index for young readers.

     From the publisher of Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL magazines, How?: The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book about Nature, Animals, People, Places – and You! is another winner.

     I recommend purchasing this book in either hard copy or paperback, or both, depending on your budget. Expect it to get a lot of use.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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