26 June 2010

Why, Mommy, Why?

Pre-schoolers are forever asking "Why?" Sometimes I think Isaac is doing it just because he knows it drives me crazy. Legitimate queries do not bother me, but the continual repetition of the word after each explanation is infuriating. He doesn't really want to know why he has to go brush his teeth or why we need to get the sugar bugs out of his mouth or why the dentist will have to scrape them out if we don't or why his teeth will fall out if we let the sugar bugs eat them. He just wants to delay the inevitable brushing as long as possible. And, though every parenting book and discipline manual says not to do it, many times I have resorted to the standard Mom answer, "Because I said so, that's why!"

Thankfully Isaac has just about outgrown the "Why?" stage. But this book will satisfy the curiosity of any pre-schooler, or older child, who asks what is most parents' least favorite question. And it is appropriately titled Why? Lila Prap is the author and the book was originally published in Slovenia.

Each double page spread is simply illustrated with folk-like pictures of an animal. Prap begins with a common question about the animal, each question, of course, beginning with "why?" Then the fun begins. There are multiple answers for each animal, ranging from outlandish to research-based. The author explains the concept best herself on the dedication page,

"Dear curious friends,
Some of the answers to the questions in this book are silly, some are sensible, and some are scientific. (Those are the ones marked by an asterisk *.) But feel free to make up some questions, some answers, and some animals of your own. They can be silly or serious . . . whichever you like."

Isaac likes this book because it is funny ("Why are zebras striped? Zebras are horses wearing pajamas"). I like it for the humor, but also for the information. ("Why do camels have humps? Camels are perfectly suited to life in the desert. They store fat in their humps . . .")

If you are tired of explaining "why," let Prap do it for you for a while. Then maybe you will be inspired to come up with your own silly, sensible and scientific answers to those Why? questions that never seem to end.

*As a side note for teachers or parents of older kids, this would be a great book to use with a writing activity. Have children choose animals that are not in the book and pose a "why?" question for each one. Then they write their own silly and sensible answers for the question, but also research the scientific answer and create their own Why? book with their own illustrations.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like it would be a very good starter for an information literacy session or two. How do you know this answer is silly, made up, for real? How do you know the books and websites and databases you are using are telling you the truth?