The Book of Whys (Hardcover)

The Book of Whys By Gianni Rodari, JooHee Yoon (Illustrator), Antony Shugaar (Translated by) Cover Image
By Gianni Rodari, JooHee Yoon (Illustrator), Antony Shugaar (Translated by)
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Factual as well as whimsical, and humorously illustrated, this is the first English-language publication of the answers given by one of Italy's greatest and most beloved children's authors to children's questions about animals, nature, technology, and culture.

Gianni Rodari is widely regarded as the father of modern Italian children's literature. A firm believer in the great intelligence of children, he worked both as a teacher and a journalist. For a number of years, children across Italy sent their questions to his weekly newspaper column—questions Rodari answered, most inventively, with rhymes and little poems. Why didn't he reply with facts alone? Because he wanted to provoke children into thinking about questions, norms, and language itself. The Book of Whys collects a selection of these questions—from "Why does an elephant have a trunk?" to "Why does a car need fuel?" to "Why are we born?"—along with Rodari's answers, which beautifully serve to highlight the complexities, simplicities, and absurdities of our world.

With a fresh translation from Antony Shugaar, who also translated Rodari's Telephone Tales (the 2021 Batchelder Award winner), and playful illustrations in colored pencils from artist JooHee Yoon (Beastly Verse; The Tiger Who Would Be King, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2015; Inside Out and Upside Down), The Book of Whys is a playful, surprising, and poetically informative book for all those who are curious about the world and ready to play with the ways things are.

About the Author

Italian author Gianni Rodari wrote many beloved children's books and was awarded the prestigious Andersen Prize. But he was also an educator of paramount importance in Italy and an activist who understood the liberating power of the imagination. He is one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors for children, and Italy's greatest. Influenced by French surrealism and linguistics, Rodari stressed the importance of poetic language, metaphor, made-up language, and play. At a time when schooling was all about factual knowledge, Rodari wrote The Grammar of Fantasy, a radically imaginative book about storytelling and play. He was a forerunner of writing techniques such as the "fantastic binomial" and the utopian, world engendering "what if...." The relevance of Rodari’s works today lies in his poetics of imagination, his humanist yet challenging approach to reality, and his themes, such as war and peace, immigration, injustice, inequality, and liberty. Forty years after his death, Rodari’s writing is as powerful and innovative as ever. He died in Rome in 1980.

JooHee Yoon is an artist and educator whose practice spans illustration, design, and printmaking. Much of her work is influenced by her time experimenting with traditional printmaking techniques. Her drawings can often be seen in publications such as the New York Times, and she has exhibited widely both in the United States and abroad. In 2015 her first picture book, a contemporary take on the James Thurber classic The Tiger Who Would Be King, was named one of the New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books. Currently she teaches in the illustration department at RISD, along with working on publishing projects.

Antony Shugaar is a writer and translator, working out of Italian and French. He once interviewed the creator of Topo Gigio.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781592703647
ISBN-10: 159270364X
Publisher: Enchanted Lion
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 152
Language: English