Boy Wonders

Boy Wonders

by Calef Brown, Greg Steinbruner
     
 

Have you ever wondered, pondered, quizzically thought?
Have questions and queries made you distraught?
If you have the need to inquire,
Then you might require
A book such as this.
(It’s not to be missed)
Pull up a chair, throw your hand in the air
He’ll answer your questions
…and answer with flare!

For all those

Overview

Have you ever wondered, pondered, quizzically thought?
Have questions and queries made you distraught?
If you have the need to inquire,
Then you might require
A book such as this.
(It’s not to be missed)
Pull up a chair, throw your hand in the air
He’ll answer your questions
…and answer with flare!

For all those "why why why" kid out there, Calef Brown has a few questions of his own: Is water scared of waterfalls? Are clam bakes good for bake sales? Are phones annoyed when no one calls? Do jealous clouds steal each other's thunder? Each question is wackier than the last and is sure to drum up some good laughs…there’s no question about that!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Runaway punnery and nonstop questions drive this rhyming book, which calls attention to similar-sounding words and figures of speech. Brown's (Hallowilloween) title refers to a pensive boy who asks, "Are you ever perplexed? Completely vexed?" and unleashes his ruminations. The text, illustrated in surreal acrylics that convey an imagination in overdrive, opens in a high-energy yet manageable way: "Do bees get hives?/ Do onions cry?/ Is pepper apt to sneeze?/ Do paper plates/ and two-by-fours/ remember being trees?" As pages turn, absurd tongue-twisters and weird images accumulate, as in a portrait of a frowning blue-violet bird in an icy landscape: "Would a happy toucan/ from the Yucatan/ become cantankerous/ up in Anchorage/ or the Yukon?/ How about in Tucson?" Enjoyment depends on a pleasure in assonance and consonance, and a capacity to deconstruct skewed metaphors ("Do clouds get jealous during storms,/ and steal each other's thunder?"); more than anything, this one seems likely to spur discussions about the idioms, animals, and vocabulary that appear within. Brown keeps the pace fast and furious, and his warped wordplay suggests a caffeinated Jon Agee. Ages 4–8. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—The connotations of everyday words and sayings are pondered and turned inside out and upside down in this wholly original paean to intellectual curiosity. The title sets the tone for one ever-wondering youngster's take on the meaning of words and ideas. The boy's delightfully nonsensical rhyming questions reveal no clear answers; they only spark more queries. Listeners will easily "get" the thinking behind some of the wordplay inherent in the child's questions ("Do taffy pullers ever push and make a glob of sticky mush?" "Do all giraffes have high-pitched laughs?"), but other wonderments require higher contextual knowledge ("Just for the sake or argument,/suppose I became an Argonaut./Would I say 'Arrgh' a lot, like a pirate?"). The artist's trademark stylized illustrations, flat, hip, and jazzy, are rendered in a palette of predominantly blue/green/yellow acrylics. With its large-scale illustrations and musical wordplay, this title is perfect for read-aloud sharing and will amuse and stimulate listeners of any age.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 1–4—The title of Calef Brown's book (Atheneum, 2011) is a play on words, indicating that a young boy wonders about the world, and that the book is full of questions posed by the boy. Curious questions and interesting puzzles are introduced as the boy shares his thoughts. The book is composed of humorous rhymes, such as: "Are phones annoyed if no one calls? Do ants, when anxious, climb the walls?" The "wonders" are quirky and humorous, so older students are sure to get a kick out of the silly questions and play on words. They might come up with new questions of their own or it might be fun to have them discuss possible responses to the questions. Younger children may have trouble with some of the vocabulary and concepts, but will still enjoy the rhyming text. Greg Steinbruner reads Calef Brown's book (Atheneum, 2011) clearly, but in somewhat of a monotone. Listeners may want to have the book on hand to peruse Brown's illustrations and see some of the unusual words spelled out, like cantankerous and wherewithal. Overall, this fun, rhyming story could be used in poetry or vocabulary lessons.—Jenny Ventling, Dayton Metro Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews

This boy doesn't just wonder, he throws readers a forceful invitation: "May I ask you something? / Are you ever perplexed? / Completely vexed? / Do you have questions? / Queries? / Odd theories?" He does.

Brown's book is in the grip of an effervescent momentum. Not that it really has anything to do with asking questions—of curiosity, of inquiry—though the boy sure does ask lots of questions. It is what, and especially how, he asks that spins the wheel. The story is shuttled along on Brown's fine artwork: slightly jittery, slightly sinister, with blasts of color alternating with pages in shadow and clever interpretations of the boy's increasingly loopy questions. His mind is a tinderbox to which Brown applies a match. "Do onions cry?" "Is water scared of waterfalls?" He adds some subversive wordplay as kindling: "Do clouds get jealous during storms, and steal each other's thunder?" And "[i]f I'm too tired, am I a bike?" Soon thereafter, great logs are thrown on the fire. "Would a happy toucan / from the Yucatan / become cantankerous / up in Anchorage / or the Yukon? / What about Tucson?"

In the end, the questions and words are whole lotta fun, but it is the music the book makes that is the most arresting entertainment.(Picture book. 6 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781464020575
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
08/10/2004

Meet the Author

Calef Brown is the New York Time #1 bestselling author and illustrator of Flamingos on the Roof, Tippintown, Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers, and Polkabats and Octopus Slacks. He lives in Maine.

Calef Brown is the New York Time #1 bestselling author and illustrator of Flamingos on the Roof, Tippintown, Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers, and Polkabats and Octopus Slacks. He lives in Maine.

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