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Children's LiteratureThis question-and-answer book begins right on the cover with five silly answers (like "A pepper mill!") to the question posed in the title. The real answer comes inside on the title page. The other seven questions posed by Brigitte Raab include, "Why do bears hibernate in winter?", "Why is the sea salty?", and "Why are flamingos pink?" Within the book the answers are kept to one silly one and then, on the next spread, the actual facts. The pictures are, in truth, more fun than the facts, which are pretty basic because they are limited to two or three short sentences. Manuela Olten illustrates both the fanciful answer (on double-page spreads) and the reality (broken up into panels) in lively, imaginative scenes. Her use of space is clever, and her depictions of various animals (from flamingos to whales) make them seem as facially and physically expressive as any human. In keeping with the book's witty design, the answers are printed in a very reader-friendly font on what looks like graph paper. The book was first published in Germany as Wo wachst der Pfeffer? 2006, North-South Books, Ages 5 to 8.
—Abby McGanney Nolan