Factual as well as whimsical, and humorously illustrated, this is the first English-language publication of the answers given by one of Italy’s greatest and most beloved children’s authors to children’s questions about animals, nature, technology, and culture.
Gianni Rodari is widely regarded as the father of modern Italian children’s literature. A firm believer in the great intelligence of children, he worked both as a teacher and a journalist. For a number of years, children across Italy sent their questions to his weekly newspaper column-questions Rodari answered, most inventively, with rhymes and little poems. Why didn’t he reply with facts alone? Because he wanted to provoke children into thinking about questions, norms, and language itself. The Book of Whys collects a selection of these questions-from “Why does an elephant have a trunk?” to “Why does a car need fuel?” to “Why are we born?”-along with Rodari’s answers, which beautifully serve to highlight the complexities, simplicities, and absurdities of our world.
With a fresh translation from Antony Shugaar, who also translated Rodari’s Telephone Tales (the 2021 Batchelder Award winner), and playful illustrations in colored pencils from artist JooHee Yoon (Beastly Verse; The Tiger Who Would Be King, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2015; Inside Out and Upside Down), The Book of Whys is a playful, surprising, and poetically informative book for all those who are curious about the world and ready to play with the ways things are.