Cover image for Why?
Camp, Lindsay.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Lily's continual questioning sometimes annoys her father, but one day it proves very useful.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.2 0.5 47430.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Why does she have to get up? Why does she have to get dressed? Why does it rain? Why do these questions sound familiar? Because Lily is going through that exasperating phase every child goes through. Most of the time her father tries to be patient and answer her, but sometimes it drives him insane. It takes an alien invasion to remind him why asking why can be a good thing.Tony Ross's bold illustrations portray an unflappable heroine. There is even a key on the endpapers, so inquisitive minds can decode the alien dialog.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Parents will appreciate the familiar scenario of this book: kids who question every answer they are given with one word: why? Lily's dad is a good sport and tries to answer all her whys, but sometimes he is driven to sticking his head under the couch cushion. The story takes an unusual turn (to say the least!) when a shipload of aliens lands, and the aliens announce they have come to destroy the planet. Everyone is terrified, but Lily keeps asking the aliens why, until they realize they don't have a very good reason for wreaking havoc, and depart. Kids who will see themselves (or perhaps their younger selves) in Lily will also get a chuckle out of the shipload of aliens who are flummoxed by one girl. Ross' signature cartoon-style illustrations, executed in colored pencil, appear in blocks, spreads, and one-page pictures that add to the visual interest. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Camp (previously paired with Ross for The Midnight Feast) employs a comfortable storytelling style to evoke a stage of childhood familiar to parents everywhere, then adds playful dialogue asides and a dash of the fantastic. Lily nearly drives her father bonkers by forever asking "why." The duo's daily routine abounds with such exasperating exchanges as: "Time for bed, Lily." "Why?"; "It's time you were dressed." "Why?" But during an outing to the park one day, Lily's penchant for pourquoi proves particularly handy. A "gigantic Thargon spaceship" descends near the playground, and the aliens inside threaten to destroy Earth. Lily's well-timed "why" questions fortunately cause the Thargons to reconsider and lift off back into space. Ross's cross-hatched colored-pencil illustrations are equal parts warm and whimsical, a jolly complement to the text's lighthearted mood. And to great effect, many spreads are divided, comic-book-style, into panel illustrations, allowing room for fun-to-read dialogue balloons. Ages 4-8. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Lily greets every statement with the question, "Why?" driving her father to distraction. Though he struggles valiantly to come up with reasonable responses, he sometimes finds himself with his head buried under a sofa pillow. One day in the park, father and daughter are having their usual exchange when a huge spaceship lands next to the sandbox. The Thargon leader declares his intention of destroying Earth and is greeted by stunned silence, except for Lily's "Why?" Caught in a frustrating question-answering spiral, the aliens quickly decide that they should reconsider their plan and make their exit. The invaders speak to each other in Thargish via dialogue balloons and there is a key at the end for intrepid readers who want to translate the language or use it for their own secret messages. Filled with colorful textured lines, Ross's whimsical illustrations add lots of visual humor. With his customary wit, the artist depicts a tiger-striped family cat, oozy blue-green aliens, and a feisty heroine with a sturdy stance and stick-straight red hair. Some of the artwork is arranged in comic-book squares, while other illustrations fill full- or double-page spreads. Children who are mired in the "Why?" stage will enjoy Camp's sprightly story as a one-on-one read-aloud. Those on the other side of "Why?" will delight in a trip down memory lane in a group or independent reading. A good choice-without question.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.