Why? written by Adam Rex, illustrated by Claire Keane
Why? written by Adam Rex
illustrated by Claire Keane
Review Copy from Chronicle Books
In his own words, the indispensable author (and illustrator of many, many marvelous books, see below) Adam Rex says that his newest book Why?, illustrated by Claire Keane, is "about a little girl who defeats a supervillain by dismantling his psyche." That elevator pitch is sort of a nutshell description of the themes of much of Rex's works: taking an adult trope or theme and presenting it through the eyes of a child, with wry humor and (apologies for the lame writing) heart. His work is for an audience of kids who crave adult humor, whether they get it or not, and the adults in their lives who a want the same thing. And, at 60 pages (most picture books are a standard 32 pages) Why? gets to explore this in depth.
A little girl stands in the center of a shopping mall, looking up at the glass skylight as Doctor X-Ray crashes through, ready to show off his super strength and powers to the "puny fools" inside. Looking up into his face, the little girl asks, "Why?" Clearly an adult who doesn't spend much time around children, Doctor X-Ray actually answers her question, which elicits another "Why?" As the "whys" keep coming, Doctor X-Ray begins to question himself, his choices, his passions and failures, getting to the heart of his path to villainy (his father, who came from a long line of doctors, wanted him to be one too, while Doctor X-Ray's true love of knitting and failed yarn store pushed to world domination in an effort to get his father's approval) and also getting to some genuine self-realization. The "whys" lead to this revelation, "Everyone's battling something. Everyone wants to win. And that's what hero stories are about, right? Winning. You gotta have winners and losers." But why? To which Doctor X-Ray responds, "Good point." He reignites his rocket boots, shrugs and heads out the skylight. Reunited with her mother, who asks why she's always wandering off, the little girl replies, naturally, "Because."
Written and Illustrated by Adam Rex
(and a few reviewed by me)
Excellent humorous-horror-poetry with stunning illustrations...
LOVE this book! Why have I never reviewed it?
Written by Adam Rex
Written by Mac Barnett & Illustrated by Adam Rex
Another FAVORITE read out loud I've never reviewed...
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Neil Gaiman's Panda Trilogy
Adam Rex's middle grade (and sole YA) novels
My All-Time Favorite