Just Because


‘Why do birds fly south in the winter’? It’s bedtime, a time to contemplate life, your existence and the turning of the world. A bright shaft of hallway light illuminates the subject of an interrogation; we surmise it is a father. The questioner is upright in bed, her dog alert. They’re both waiting for the answers they need.

‘What happened to the dinosaurs’? Will the response draw in the Ice Age and asteroids? Or could there be a suggestion of something as wonderful as dinosaurs fastening ‘themselves to big balloons’ floating into space where they’ve stayed?

‘Just Because‘ is a book of questions and answers. While the questions are mighty, the answers are mightier in the scope and wonder of their possibilities. We love the question on one double page, thereafter followed by a soaring, colour lit double page answer. These suggest that any reader will need to linger over these glorious responses…. Why not? ‘Just Because’. 


Just Because

Mac Barnett, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

(Walker Books)– hardback

‘Just Because’– why else could it be? ‘Why is the ocean blue?’ Could it be that fish take out guitars and ‘sing sad songs and cry blue tears’? Then, ‘what is the rain?’ Perhaps it may be ‘the tears of flying fish’? Thereafter, ‘why do leaves change colour?’ Possibly it’s because the trees keep warm in autumn ‘by setting quiet little fires in their leaves’? Who knows? What are your truths?
What are your questions? Furthermore, what are your answers?
We know Mac Barnett from his incomparable children’s literary success, with works like Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and his shapes’ series, amongst other titles. Isabelle Arsenault is the trailblazing illustrator of Captain Rosalie. Together they have formed a magnificent picture book of possibilities and wonder. While it is reminiscent of Britta Teckentrup’s My Little Book of Big Questions, there is such an open-mindedness, and joy in existence and our planet. Bookwagon is awed and moved by ‘Just Because’. We suggest you will be too.


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