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Catalog Number: #191078
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 0-8234-4173-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-8234-4173-0
Dewey: E
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
A little white rabbit is always asking, -Why?--to which his kind, even-tempered bear friend usually has a simple but satisfying response. -Why?- the rabbit asks, watching the bear water a patch of blooms. -Because flowers need water to grow,- the bear replies. Seasonal watercolor spreads by Seeger (Blue) are idyllic; the bear, painted in radiant, translucent oranges and browns, is patient but not paternal, which grants the small wiry rabbit a modicum of independence. But when winter arrives and the latter finds a dead cardinal in the snow-a startling but beautiful image-the refrain suddenly becomes too big for even the massive bear: -I don-t know why. Sometimes I just don-t know why,- it says, trudging away to hibernate. Coming full circle, the rabbit asks its friend to stay (-Why?- the bear asks. -Because then I would miss my friend.... That-s why-) and patiently keeps watch while the bear sleeps. But the ending feels more flat than uplifting, and readers may not be able to get past rabbit-s toddlerlike querying habit to appreciate its fondness for its friend. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A patient bear deftly answers most of a childlike rabbit's many "whys."As the two friends perch with a telescope beneath a starry sky, the rabbit's "Why?" garners a contextual answer: "Because they are very far away." When the bear guzzles honey from three large jars, the inevitable query is met with "Because it tastes so good." The turn of the page reveals a reclining, lethargic bear. "Why?" "Because I ate too much." Seeger's patterned text invites readers to tease out what the friends' spare conversation leaves unsaid, scanning for clues among the pictures. Comic moments derive from the bear's succinct responses: The rabbit, buffeted while hanging from a branch ("Wind…"), falls into the bear's arms ("Gravity"). Seeger's watercolors capture seasonal changes as nature's greens yield to falling leaves and flurrying snow. When the rabbit contemplates a dead cardinal, vivid red against the snow, the bear, eyes conveying emotion, says, "I don't know why. Sometimes I just don't know why!" As the bear moves toward a beckoning cave, the rabbit begs the bear to stay—and it's the bear's turn to ask "Why?" A final scene shows the slumbering bear, the rabbit gazing from above, as snow falls. There are poignant echoes of Margaret Wise Brown's The Dead Bird and Raymond Briggs' The Snowman here.Not all questions can be answered, but the communion of friendship lights much of life's path. (Picture book. 4-8)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* One of Seeger's great talents is distilling a child's concerns to their essence. Here the stand-in for the child is a sweet white rabbit who can be frisky and contemplative by turns, but what she does most consistently is ask the one-word question of the title. A shaggy brown bear with a remarkably expressive face is helpfully there to answer. What Rabbit is questioning never needs to be spelled out, because it is so simply depicted in the lovely, focused watercolor illustrations. As he waters flowers, Bear responds to the "why?" by saying, "Because flowers need water to grow." As Bear guzzles pots of honey, the reason is because it tastes good. And when he's lying against a rock, holding his stomach, it's because he "ate too much." But for some things, there are no answers. Rabbit spies a robin dead in the snow, and a sad Bear can only say, "Sometimes I don't know why." This celebration of friendship, which Seeger moves seamlessly through the seasons, gives children the opportunity to intuit that, while things change, there is also stability in love and relationships. A poignant ending reiterates that bond, which will be touching for children who like to ask plenty of questions and for the adults on whose laps they sit.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

For young readers who always want to know why? . . . especially when there isn't an easy answer.

Two-time Caldecott and Geisel Honoree Laura Vaccaro Seeger weaves a simple story about the unfailingly curious Rabbit-- and his patient friend Bear, who always answers his questions.

Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know: why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is: why?

As spring passes into summer, and Rabbit continues to wonder why?, detailed, lush watercolor illustrations encourage the reader to figure out the reason for each question. Over and over, Bear gives the best answers he can-- until, in the depths of winter, he has no answer to give.

This simple story is a reminder that even when there are no answers for our questions, we can count on trust and love-- and sometimes, that's more than enough.

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