Prather’s Pick: A bedtime book
Children are curious about lots of things, and sometimes adults don’t know the answers to their questions (or the answers are complicated) so we just say, “Just because…” However, the father in this week’s picture book for children has some creative answers for his daughter’s questions.
“Just Because” was written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.
In the story, a young girl is in bed, ready to go to sleep (or maybe not quite ready). Her dog is on the bed, too. The girl’s father peeks through the open bedroom door. That’s when the little girl starts with the questions.
“Why is the ocean blue?” she asks.
Her father replies, “ Every night when you go to sleep, the fish take out guitars. They sing sad songs and cry blue tears.”
The two-page illustration of the underwater world, with the fish and their guitars, is done in shades of blue and gray.
Then the little girl asks, “What is the rain?” (The little dog seems to be thinking about it, too.)
Dad has walked into the room now. He is thoughtful, and his answer is: “The tears are flying fish.”
Indeed, it does look like rain as a bunch of fish, some wearing hats and another playing what appears to be a banjo, fly over a city, their tears falling like rain. It’s an interesting answer from a creative father.
The questions continue. If your child were to ask, “Why do birds fly south for the winter?”, would you answer,” To fetch new leaves for trees.”? This little girl’s father does.
Pretty soon Father is in the bedroom, sitting on his daughter’s bed. That’s when she asks what happened to the dinosaurs. You won’t believe the answer.
The questions go on, but pretty soon Father says that it’s time to go to sleep. His daughter’s last question, as she and the dog close their eyes, is: “Why do we have to go to sleep?”
There’s a wonderful, fantastical answer.
What a great bedtime book!
Mac Barnett has written several books for children, including “Extra Yarn” and “President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.”
Isabelle Arsenault, who lives in Montreal, has received many awards for her works, including the Governor General’s Literary Award—three times.
This week’s new (2019) book is published by Candlewick Press. It costs $17.99 in hardcover or you can find it, with new books, in the children’s room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.