How?: The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places - and You!


When Oma arrives to stay with Jake, Lizzie, and their parents, they want to make her visit extra special — so off the family goes to Jake's birthday party, the library, the beach, and many other places! These familiar childhood excursions prompt many questions from Jake and Lizzie. How do candles stay on fire? How do librarians remember where all the books go? How does the sand get so hot? Curious kids everywhere want to know — and no adult has all the answers.

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When Oma arrives to stay with Jake, Lizzie, and their parents, they want to make her visit extra special — so off the family goes to Jake's birthday party, the library, the beach, and many other places! These familiar childhood excursions prompt many questions from Jake and Lizzie. How do candles stay on fire? How do librarians remember where all the books go? How does the sand get so hot? Curious kids everywhere want to know — and no adult has all the answers.

In the same style as the highly successful Why?, How? provides kid-friendly explanations for nearly one hundred everyday mysteries. Bright, playful illustrations from Scot Ritchie complement the clear text and set the scenes for the common questions that kids ask. A scrapbook-style page at the end of each chapter offers additional information in snapshots and captions. How? combines the best qualities of non-fiction and picture books to delight young readers again and again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The team behind Why? (2001) returns with another book that finds numerous questions (and answers) in everyday subjects. Divided into seven sections (birthdays, the library, pets, illness, road trips, the beach, and the airport) with 10 or so subquestions for each category, the book is built around two children in a multiracial family whose grandmother comes to visit. Jake’s birthday party begets questions like “Why do balloons pop?” while a drive to the beach allows Ripley to explain how roads and bridges are built. Ritchie’s loose, friendly images create a bright and cheerful environment, and Ripley’s concise answers will arm readers with new knowledge—and likely prompt follow-up questions. Ages 3–7. (May)
Children's Literature - Amy S. Hansen
This really is an awesome book, as the title proclaims. In gentle, but accurate narrative, Ripley sets up series of questions around seven different family vignettes. First, there is a birthday party. We learn how parties got started, how balloons float and how batter turns into the cake, among other things. Then the family goes to the library and we learn how books are made, how the Dewey decimal system works, and curiously enough, whether every library has a restroom. The family also goes to a pet store, gets sick, goes on a road trip, spends time at the beach, and says goodbye to their Grandmother at the airport. The questions seem to come more or less naturally from the normal behavior of this family. Not only are the answers well written, but the illustrations provide a strong human touch to the people who might be asking. Ritchie's illustrations show people of different skin colors and different cultural clothing, a definite plus as children look to find themselves in the questions. This book may be used by kids looking for an answer to a specific question, but I will bet they will get caught and keep turning the pages. Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen
Kirkus Reviews
Lightweight answers to FAQs about such subjects as birthdays, libraries, pets and road trips. In question-and-answer format--with each one allotted a two-page spread and accompanied by Ritchie's loose-line, pastel-colored artwork--Ripley fields a range of questions. They include how batter turns into cake and how birthday candles stay on fire, why hamsters run on wheels and why they stuff their cheeks with food, why you hear the sea in a seashell and why the ocean is salty. The answers are both fruity with humor and specific as to the immediate explanation, but there is not much meat on the bones to many of the answers, even for the intended age group. This is true especially when it comes to secondary clarifications that would deepen understanding, because these answers are going to elicit plenty more "hows" and "whys." Some of the questions ignite the "duh" factor: "Why do we wrap presents? Because surprises are fun! And because wrapping makes gifts look extra special." There is a modest sense of repetition: "Why are some books hardcover and some paperback? Because different readers like different kinds of books!" (nor does the extended response do any better a job of answering the question) and "Why are dogs different sizes? Different dogs for different folks!" Then come really sharp explanations as to why tarantulas have hair and why gasoline has a strong odor. An uneven effort that is too often unhelpfully simplistic. (Nonfiction. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926973241
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 5/15/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 542,877
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Ripley is a former editor of chickaDEE Magazine as well as the author of several acclaimed children's books. She contributes regularly to children's magazines and lives in Edmonton.

Scot Ritchie is an award-winning illustrator of more than 30 books for children including Why? by Catherine Ripley and Let's Go! by Lizann Flatt. He loves to travel and his work has taken him to London, Berlin, and Hawaii. He lives in Vancouver.

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Read an Excerpt

How do planes take off when they weigh so much?

It all has to do with engines, wings, and the air itself. Vro-o-o-o-m…powerful engines zoom the heavy plane forward super-fast. This is called thrust. Scho-o-o-m…air speeds over the wings. The special shape of the wings makes the air rush downward, and when the air rushes down, the plane is pushed up. This is called lift. Big, heavy airplanes need big, powerful engines to make the air move really fast. The faster the air moves, the more lift there will be to get the plane off the ground and keep it flying high in the sky.

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 Happy birthday

How do balloons float?
Why do balloons pop?
How did birthday parties get started?
Why do we have noisemakers?
Why do we wrap presents?
How do I grow taller each year?
How does batter turn into cake?
Why do we sing the birthday song?
How do candles stay on fire?
Why is cake so yummy?

CHAPTER 2 Off to the library

Who invented the library?
How does the library get all its books?
How books are made?
Why are some books hardcovers and some paperbacks?
Why do I need to be quiet in the library?
Does reading make me smarter?
Why do libraries have computers?
How do computers know stuff?
How do librarians remember where all the books go?
Does every library have a restroom?
What happens when I check out a book?

CHAPTER 3 Pets, Pets, Pets!

Where do pets come from?
Why are dogs different sizes?
Do dogs dream?
Why do betas fight?
How do fish see underwater?
How come tarantulas are so hairy?
Why do cats purr?
How do parrots talk?
How do snakes eat really big stuff?
Why do hamsters go on a wheel?
Why do hamsters stuff their cheeks?

CHAPTER 4 Feeling Sick

How do I get sick?
Why do I throw up?
Why does the thermometer go in my ear?
Why do I get so hot when I’m sick?
How do I sneeze?
How do I catch somebody else’s cold?
Why do I have to get lots of rests when I’m sick?
When should I go to the doctor?
How is medicine made?
How does medicine work?

CHAPTER 5 Road Trip

How does the steering wheel turn the car?
Why are there so many different traffic signs?
Why are wheels round?
How are roads built?
How are bridges built?
Why does gasoline smell so strong?
Why are there speed limits?
On a sunny day, why does it look like there is water on the road again?
How come my sister gets car sick?
Who invented the first car?

CHAPTER 6 At the Beach

How does the sand get so hot?
How does all the sand get to the beach?
Why does wet sand work better for sandcastles?
Why do beaches have seagulls?
How do shells get so shiny?
Why do I hear the sea in a shell?
How do I float in the water?
Why is the ocean salty?
How are waves made?
Hey! Why does the water knock over my sandcastle?
How many whales are in the oceans?
Why does the sun burn me?

CHAPTER 7 Airport Good-byes

How do planes land so easily?
Who invented the airplane?
Why are there so many people at the airport?
How do X-rays work?
Where does my suitcase go?
Why do hugs make you feel so good?
Why does the security gate beep?
How do planes take off when they weigh so much?

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