Just Because

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Mac Barnett (text) and Isabelle Arsenault (illustrator), Just Because, Candlewick Press, September 2019, 40 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780763696801

To be able to wonder about the world is precious and for young minds something to be nurtured and encouraged. This charming picture book does just that as a father and his small daughter sit together at bedtime and wonder about such things as why the ocean is blue or what makes rain and why leaves change their colours.

The father provides his inquisitive daughter with wonderfully creative explanations such as fish singing sad songs being the reason why the ocean is blue or the tears of flying fish is the reason why it rains, or trees creating little fires in their leaves to keep themselves warm as the reason why by winter their branches have all burned up.

Using full page retro style illustrations in gouache, pencil and water colour, Arsenault supports and develops Barnett’s minimal but powerful text through moody, poetic, dream-like images.

Barnett, author of many children’s books and Arsenault a highly esteemed illustrator, have come together to created something of wonder for the very young.

Highly recommended 4 years +

Reviewed by Mem Capp

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