Questions Asked by Jostein Gaarder, illustrated by Akin Düzakin

51dypbi42l         Questions Asked by Jostein Gaarder, illustrated by Akin Düzakin. Translated by Don Bartlett. Elsewhere Editions, 2017.  9780914671664

Format: ARC. To be published May 2017 in hardcover.

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture book for older readers?

What did you like about the book? This book has parallel stories: one consisting of philosophical questions about existence, meaning and memory; the other a story told in pictures of a little boy and his missing friend (or twin). Melancholy and existential, the questions relate to what the boy may be thinking, while the ethereal illustrations show his past and his current grief. There is a dog, shown in the past as a puppy, which grounds the story in reality. The questions may not have answers, but are related to the pictures in a way which invites many interpretations. The palette is of dreamy blue, gray and sepia, which echoes the melancholy of the deep questions being asked. A lovely and probing book for older readers unafraid to ponder deep questions of philosophy. It also could be viewed as a meditation on grief and recovery.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  The ethereal nature of the illustrations reminds me of Berger’s Grandfather Twilight, while the quiet text is almost existential. This is for ages 8 and up.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books for older readers

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: February 9, 2017

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