Lila Prap’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages, I discovered when I started to research Slovenian picture books. I have chosen to review perhaps her most successful title Why? in this post.
Why? is a non-fiction picture book where each double spread is devoted to a different animal. Hyenas, whales, camels and walruses are among those featured. The illustrations have instant appeal: They are simple, colourful, and outlined in thick black. A border frames each spread and this is where the majority of the text sits. There isn’t much – this is not a wordy picture book.
Each spread starts with a question: ‘Why do giraffes have long necks?’ or ‘Why don’t snakes have legs?’ and the various answers are then scattered around the border. Most of them will make readers chuckle, because they are so obviously wrong! Kangaroos don’t have pouches to put their toys in! Rhinos don’t have horns in order to follow their noses!
The real answer is, of course, provided, clearly marked with an asterisk to avoid any possibility of confusion. Each one takes the format of a succinctly worded paragraph that not only answers the big question ‘Why?’, but also presents the reader with interesting additional information about the animal featured.
Why? is a colourful and fun introduction to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Readers, large and small, will come away from this book with all sorts of fascinating facts to share – and an increased curiosity about the world around us.
Why? by Lila Prap (Firefly Books Ltd., 2018), translated from the Slovenian, translator not named.
Lila Prap, otherwise known as Lilijana Praprotnik Zupančič, is a children’s author/illustrator whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages. She lives and works in Škofja Vas, Slovenia.
You can read more about the ‘phenomenon called Lila Prap’ in this article.
Laura Taylor is the founder of world children’s literature blog Planet Picture Book. She is a small business copywriter, NAATI-certified translator of French into English and member of AUSIT. When she is not writing, she is reading and chasing after her two young children. She tweets regularly @plapibo and posts at www.planetpicturebook.com