Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
The Many Questions of Rollie by Cody DeWitt is one of those excellent children's books that hits all the right notes, checks all the right boxes, and delivers both value and entertainment to you and your children in a simple and digestible way.
This book follows a precocious, curious little boy Rollie and his intelligent yet imaginative dad. Rollie is always wondering about natural phenomena like why the sun is hot, why the wind blows, and why boats float. These are all questions that kids and adults alike have pondered from one time or another. Many of us have just taken the answers for granted and accepted that things are the way that they are, but not Rollie and his dad!
Dad approaches Rollie's questions in two different ways: 1. What he has “read” (a scientific approach), and 2. What he has “heard” (using an imaginative, creative approach).
This book is terrific at highlighting the incredible and exciting human imagination. For centuries, human beings have made sense of the world through the use of imaginative and often fantastical stories like the various kinds of mythologies, legends, and religions throughout the world.
You can really tell that Rollie is filled with a profound sense of wonder when hearing his dad's various explanations and stories. This profound sense of wonder is something that parents and teachers really need to nurture in children. It's this profound sense of wonder that's probably going to get us to the Mars or Alpha Centauri. It's this profound sense of wonder that's probably going to discover a cure for cancer. It's this profound sense of wonder that's probably going to solve the world's energy and climate crises. It's this profound sense of wonder that's probably going to extend the average length of a human life and make life more convenient and enjoyable.
Just because things are the way that they are doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be that way forever, or that it should be that way. For example, imagine if we accepted that cassettes, VHS tapes, and Motorola cell phones were the best humanity was ever going to get. Now we have streaming services galore and smartphones.
The other thing we love about this book is that the art is friendly, colorful, and cool. The father in particular looks like that one boss we all had that we all liked and went to when we had a problem. He is so patient, fun, and understanding, and maybe a bit silly. Many of his explanations and the accompanying illustrations are so cartoonish and over-the-top, but it works.
Next, this book provides value and digestibility. It is actually three separate stories that can be read at three separate reading times, likely in 5-10 minutes each. So, in that sense, it's perfect for circle time or nap time. A lot of authors overestimate a child's attention span. Heck, even parents start to lose interest and attention when a children's book drones on and on. Often, simplicity is best, and this book provides that.
Lastly, although the fanciful aspects of this book might concern the more scientific-minded or secular reader, you needn't worry. The book still provides room and opportunity for the adult reader to talk about the actual scientific explanations for these natural phenomena, particularly since the dad in the book starts out every explanation with a brief scientific explanation of this sort.
Check it out on Amazon!