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BOOK REVIEW: Little Why by Jonny Lambert

BOOK REVIEW: Little Why by Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger Press
July 2016
Paperback, $16.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book

5/10

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Little Why just can’t stay in line. There is so much to see – like Giraffe’s long-lofty leggy legs and Wildebeest’s spiny-spiky horns. Why can’t he have legs and horns like them? And then Little Why spots Crocodile’s snippy-snappy teeth… Look out!

With stylish and striking art from Jonny Lambert, Little Why is a visually stunning picture book with a heart-warming message at its core. Children will love Little Why’s adorable, excitable character and discovering the different animals in the African savannah. A perfect story book for gently introducing themes of positive body image and the dangers of toddlers and little children running away from their parents.

There is truly a lot to love about this picture book, from the positive body image and dangers of children running away from their parents, through to the kooky descriptive words and the absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Honestly, the pictures in this book make it a winner for this reviewer.

And yet…

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Something about the way that Little Why’s family keep telling him “No” and “Keep in line” throughout the story, no matter what dangers he gets himself into, doesn’t sit well with this previous nanny and childcare worker.

Though he keeps getting distracted and going off on tangents throughout the walk to the water, and though he grows more and more sulky as the walk goes on, and though he keeps asking “Why?” his family refuse to give him any answer other than “Keep in line”.

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Only at the end, when we reach the final pages, do they tell him that he is special just the way he is.

It is a nice sentiment in the end, and there are so many things one could put a positive spin on with this book, and my own experiences have shown me just how repetitive it can be when a child gets into their “why?” stage. But they go through this stage for a reason; they’re learning about the world and fact finding, and yes the questions go on and on and on… but “no” is not a suitable response. And one can’t help but wonder if, had his family answered his earlier questions, Little Why wouldn’t have gotten himself into so many dangerous situations. IMAG2398

But then, had they told him how special he was at the start, it wouldn’t have been much of a story, would it?

It is also a little strange that the creatures he spots are all referred to by the name of their species with a capital letter. Wildebeest, Giraffe, Cheetah, and Crocodile, written in such a way, suggests that these are their names, and hence that Little Why knows them. This could, of course, introduce an element of Stranger Danger to the story, but I don’t get the feeling that was what the author/illustrator was going for here.

BOOK REVIEW: Little Why by Jonny Lambert

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  1. Thor Pedersen says:

    Great !

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