Have you ever wondered, quizzically thought?
Have questions or queries that make you distraught?
If you need to inquire,
Then you might require
A book such as this.
(It’s not to be missed.)
Pull up a chair, throw your hand in the air.
He’ll answer your questions
…and answer with flair!
For all those “why why why” kids out there, Calef Brown has a few questions of his own: Is water scared of waterfalls? Are clambakes good for bake sales? Are phones annoyed when no one calls? Do jealous clouds steal each other’s thunder? Each question is wackier than the last and is sure to drum up some good laughs. As sublime as it is provocative, Boy Wonders will spur many a discussion—because though the questions are aplenty, readers must provide the answers!
Runaway punnery and nonstop questions drive this rhyming book, which calls attention to similar-sounding words and figures of speech. Brown's (Hallowilloween) title refers to a pensive boy who asks, "Are you ever perplexed? Completely vexed?" and unleashes his ruminations. The text, illustrated in surreal acrylics that convey an imagination in overdrive, opens in a high-energy yet manageable way: "Do bees get hives?/ Do onions cry?/ Is pepper apt to sneeze?/ Do paper plates/ and two-by-fours/ remember being trees?" As pages turn, absurd tongue-twisters and weird images accumulate, as in a portrait of a frowning blue-violet bird in an icy landscape: "Would a happy toucan/ from the Yucatan/ become cantankerous/ up in Anchorage/ or the Yukon?/ How about in Tucson?" Enjoyment depends on a pleasure in assonance and consonance, and a capacity to deconstruct skewed metaphors ("Do clouds get jealous during storms,/ and steal each other's thunder?"); more than anything, this one seems likely to spur discussions about the idioms, animals, and vocabulary that appear within. Brown keeps the pace fast and furious, and his warped wordplay suggests a caffeinated Jon Agee. Ages 4 8.