Magination Press: Snitchy Witch by Frank J Sileo, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley

Why?

Caldecott Medal-winner and Geisel Award-honoree Laura Vaccaro Seeger (the Dog and Bear series) tells a sweet and simple tale of friendship between a bear and an enthusiastically curious rabbit in Why?

As young readers turn the pages of this picture book, the seasons slowly change from summer to winter. The rabbit's question, however, remains the same: "Why?" When bear (shown guzzling honey) eats too much or rabbit falls out of the tree (tumbling head over fuzzy tail), rabbit wants to know "Why?" Bear always calmly responds to his friend: "Because it tastes so good" (while holding his belly); "Gravity" (delivered gently, to the windswept rabbit). But when rabbit wants to know why a bird has died, bear doesn't have an answer. " 'I don't know why," bear says sadly, "Sometimes I just don't know why!' " Why? climaxes with the roles of the forest animal friends reversed, leading to a satisfying, touching conclusion.

Seeger's prose is sparse, but the story's impact is vast. Her beautifully detailed watercolor illustrations feature expertly blended soft colors, creating an inviting trek through woodlands--the lush textures of grass, wonderfully puffy clouds and snow make the feel of nature almost palpable. And bear and rabbit each exhibit extensive emotions through subtle, soulful facial expressions. While Seeger's animals may not always know the answer to the age-old question, readers are sure to find plenty of reasons to adore this charming picture book. An excellent option for story time, Seeger's Why? invites audiences of any age to interact with bear and rabbit as well as their rich habitat. Why? It's delightful. "That's why." --Jen Forbus, freelancer