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Children's Nonfiction How Things Work-are Made


The Best Ever Question and Answer Book about Nature, Science and the World around You

by (author) Catherine Ripley

illustrated by Scot Ritchie

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
How Things Work-Are Made, Environmental Science & Ecosystems, Questions & Answers, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 4


Everyday childhood activities, such as an excursion to the park, splashing in the bathtub, or fixing a snack in the kitchen, can spark many questions in young children. Why is the sky blue? Why does my stomach g-r-r-owl? Why do cows moo? Curious kids want to know, and no adult has all the answers.

Bestseller Why? provides kid-friendly explanations for nearly 100 of these everyday mysteries in an engaging question-and-answer format. The book takes young readers inside the kitchen and out to the park, from the farm to the supermarket, and from bathtime to bedtime. Answers to questions submitted by real kids reveal fascinating tidbits about nature, science, and the world around us. Bright, playful illustrations by Scot Ritchie set the scenes for the common questions that kids ask. Whether read aloud at bedtime or explored in a classroom setting, Why? is a kid-approved nonfiction pick that will encourage inquiry and curiosity.

About the authors

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 Fernie, British Columbia.

Catherine Ripley's profile page


Scot Ritchie est un auteur-illustrateur primé vivant à Vancouver, en Colombie-Britannique. Il a illustré, et parfois écrit, plus de 40 livres pour enfants, dont Suivons la carte, Dis-moi pourquoi et There was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Puck.


Scot Ritchie is an award winning illustrator who lives in Vancouver British Columbia. He has illustrated over 40 children's books, (some of which he also wrote) including Let's Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here, Up, Up and Away and the Basics for Beginners series, Hockey, Baseball and Soccer.



Scot Ritchie's profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens Selection
  • Commended, Canadian Toy Testing Council, Top 25 Great Books
  • Commended, Science Books & Films, Best Books
  • Winner, Smart Book Awards

Editorial Reviews

"A useful resource for both parent and child."

Quill & Quire

"This book is an excellent resource for any classroom, school or home library! Colorful illustrations accompany the fun and informative text."

"A useful, interesting, and enjoyable read."

School Library Journal

"A fabulous book for kids who just can’t stop wondering about the world around them…Why? will help nurture a playful, scientific curiosity in early-school-aged children."

Today’s Parent

"Catherine Ripley quenches kids' thirst for knowledge...Bright, cartoonish and often humorous illustrations help demonstrate the answers."

Publishers Weekly

"Understanding the world around us is such a big part of learning, and Why? does that in a fun and approachable way."

Picture Book Junkies

"The perfect book for the child who always asks ‘Why?’"

"Reveals valuable and fascinating information about the things kids want to know. Bright, playful illustrations by Scot Ritchie are the perfect complement to the text, adding a further level of explanation."

Regina Leader-Post

"I recommend Why?... It helps children to notice, wonder, and ask questions based on observations."

Canadian Review of Materials

"Cheery, simple color illustrations fill this wonderfully informative and entertaining book, enthusiastically recommended to parents and children’s library collections alike, in order to kindle a passion for learning in inquisitive young minds."

Midwest Book Review

"A colorful and well-written collection... it answers many of children's most pressing questions — and it's a picture book too!"

Professionally Speaking

"If you find yourself scrambling to explain why the sky is blue... this book can help you come through with some kid-friendly but scientifically accurate explanations."

City Parent

"With its subtitle, The Best Ever Question and Answer Book About Nature and the World Around You, this book promises much and delivers on that promise for its intended readership. The questions are divided into categories indicative of where or when they might pop up — i.e. bath time, night time, the supermarket, the kitchen or the farm. In the latter category is, for example, the question, 'Why do horses sleep standing up?' There is a longish (and good) answer, but the short answer is: 'For a quick get-away.'"

The Globe and Mail

"The perfect book to answer all those never-ending why questions... a great book designed for future great thinkers."

Picture Book Depot

"Great book for ages three to eight to help parents answer some of their kids' weird questions."

Kitchener-Waterloo Record

"This book is an excellent reference for any classroom, school or home library! Colorful illustrations accompany the fun and informative text."

"This book is fun to pick up... You can open to any page and learn something fascinating... provides easily understood explanations for many of life’s everyday mysteries."

Solano Magazine

"This book is a terrific way to satisfy your child's curiosity while encouraging inquisitive thinking... It's sure to delight, inform and entertain."

St. John's Telegram

"This book is a terrific place to find answers in simple, kid-friendly terms... I fully recommend having this on your shelf."

Shelf Candy

"If you have a child in this age range, chances are you receive a stumper that starts with the magic word “why" just about every day... This question and answer book offers hungry learners dozens of easily digestible answers, accompanied with colorful illustrations, about topics related to our bodies, our homes, and the world beyond."

Modern Babies & Children

Librarian Reviews

Why? The Best Ever Question and Answer Book About Nature, Science and the World Around You

This special edition celebrates the book’s 10th anniversary and provides kid-friendly explanations for nearly 100 everyday mysteries for a whole new generation of children. Divided into six sections under the headings Bathtime Questions, Supermarket Questions, Nighttime Questions, Outdoor Questions, Kitchen Questions and Farm Animal Questions, this charmingly illustrated book will thrill inquisitive young readers and their parents. Originally published in 2001 by Owl Books/Greey de Pencier Inc. (Our Choice 2002).

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Catherine Ripley

Other titles by Scot Ritchie