Friday, February 24, 2012

Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All

Written & illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
Atheneum, 2012
$16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages

Everyday superheroes are no match for Question Boy, a masked crusader who asks a dizzying number of questions.

But will an opinionated girl in the park who won't stop chattering be able to satisfy his curiosity? Or will she just be really difficult to talk to?

In this funny, clever picture book, Question Boy (a boy who wants to know everything) and Little-Miss-Know-It-All (a girl who thinks she already does) face off in a verbal brawl that has each blurting out words at each other.

In the end, Question Boy and Little-Miss-Know-It-All both get the words knocked out of them, but in doing so, they discover they're more alike than they knew. Both are inquisitive, but in a needling sort of way that isn't getting them what they really want.

As the story begins, Question Boy (dressed in a cape and leotard with a "Q" on his chest), goes around town with an unquenchable need to know. He seeks out the town's action heroes, municipal workers and private employees in tights, and drills them with questions about what they do.

But before they can answer his first question, he's onto another and pestering them about "what if" scenarios that they either have no time to answer or have no idea how to answer.

Otto the Book Bear

Written & illustrated by Katie Cleminson
$16.99, ages 3-7, 32 pages

Suppose a bear from a book got separated from his story and began exploring city streets for a place to belong. Would he ever find a story to be part of again?

In this gentle, imaginative picture book by the author-illustrator of Magic Box, a character named Otto wanders off the pages of his book to explore his child's house, but when he returns the child's family has packed up and moved. Now, he must brave the real world for companionship, only the real world is vastly bigger than the setting of his book.

Otto, an easy-going brown bear with charming saggy skin, never saw the moving trucks coming. Slipping out of his book was something he'd done time and again. But of course no one knew Otto could do such things, not even his child, so no one in the family thought to look for him before they left.

Each day when Otto went to explore, he'd heave himself up stairs that stood before him like terraces on a mountain. Though a big, strapping bear on the page, he was just a tiny bear in the real world, shorter than the height of a page. He'd open his favorite books with maps inside and sit on the pages as he read them. He'd even sit on the space bar of an old typewriter and push his weight on keys to journal what he saw.

But one day when he was done exploring, he turned around to find nothing left in the house but a few packed up boxes. As he stood on a window sill, he watched a moving truck pull away with everything else, including the book where he was once a part of a story. He couldn't imagine being without his story; nothing made him happier than to have children read about his adventures. What was he to do?