cover image I Wonder

I Wonder

K.A. Holt, illus. by Kenard Pak. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1422-2

In the spirit of Jostein Gaarder’s Questions Asked and Mac Barnett’s Just Because, Holt (From You to Me) celebrates children’s bold questions with some of her own, reveling in the pursuit of knowledge that has little to do with pure logic. Some questions are whimsical (“Is cereal afraid of the spoon?”); others feel profound or mind opening (“Could there be a galaxy in my belly button?”). Where the text offers humor, it’s understated: a boy holds his hand out to catch a beam of light, a quiet grin on his face: “Why don’t shadows smile when you smile?” Similarly, atmospheric spreads by Pak (The Hundred-Year Barn) portray interiors, wild places, and fantasy scenes with layers of gauze-like tints. Even when the musing is playful—“I wonder if dragonflies dog-paddle”—Pak resists simple caricature, for example offering a delicate close-up of the dragonflies hovering over a pond. Though the ruminations build to little more than a series of questions, a lovely mood and an affectionate ending affirmation send the book’s cast, and its readers, off to joyful contemplation. Ages 3–7. [em](Oct.) [/em]