Total Pageviews

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All, written and illustrated byt Peter Catalanotto. Atheneum, Simon & Schuster. 2012. $21.00 ages 5 and up

"Cats have thirty-two muscles in each ear! The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows! Dolphins sleep with one eye open! Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark! A baby camel is called a camelot!"

Miss Know-It-All can go on...and believe me, she does!

If you have children, or have taught school, or spent an inordinate amount of time with information seekers, you will recognize both Question Boy and Miss Know-It-All! They have been in your presence. You can bet on it.

We first meet Question Boy as he makes his way about town one early morning. He 'accosts' everyone he meets for the answers to the questions that constantly plague him:

"How much stuff can you fit in your truck?" Question Boy asked.
"A lot," Garbage Man answered.
"More than an elephant?"
"Probably." said Garbage Man. "I think so."
"Could you fit a whale in there?"

Poor Garbage Man! He has had enough and is looking for release. Luckily, Oil Man is up the street filling a tank with oil so that people will have hot water and heat. Too soon, he is flummoxed and looking for relief, too. There is no end to the people who might help Question Boy in his quest to garner as much information as is possible:

"All day long, Question Boy wandered and wondered. He perplexed Police Woman and panicked Mechanic Man. He left Wonder Waitress woozy. Even Mailman and Paperboy were no match for his need to know."

Don't you just love the narration...careful word choice, understood frustration from those whose answers only evoke new questions and a young boy intent on filling his mind with knowledge? It's inspired.

But, wait! Who owns that voice...the one that when first heard has this to say:

"There are one hundred and eighteen ridges on every dime."

Can it be? Is it true? Question Boy wants to know.

Has he met his match?

'Why are you wearing a crown?"
"It's a tiara. It sparkles and holds my hair perfectly in place."
"How many hairs are on your head?"
"Fourteen thousand, one hundred and ninety-six."

Perhaps so! She answers every question with questionable responses and then entertains with a plethora of information not requested; but does it with panache and  assurance. Question Boy is mesmerized by her tenacity, her apparent knowledge and her in-your-face persona. She goes on and on....and on and on...and on! Nothing can stop her. Finally, he encloses himself in his cape and falls to the ground. Just as she is about to head home in triumph, he asks the question that she cannot answer with any certainty. There is only one response...she uses it and the contest comes to a close!

It's been ages since I have seen a new book by Peter Catalanotto; but this charming tale reminds me why so many of his previous books have space on my 'favorites, never to be given away' shelf. He captures the personalities of QB and MKIA with characteristic flair and gorgeous watercolor artwork.
The humor is subtle and may escape some members of its target audience. Parents and teachers will 'get it' and enjoy sharing their delight in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment