Twenty Questions (Hardcover)
March/April 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“Questions open to interpretation are paired with colorful art in this sly and funny picture book. I can’t wait to read it with the right kids — those who are perennially inquisitive!”
— Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
Award-winning creators Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson tap deep into childhood curiosity with a mind-tickling ode to the open-ended.
Not all questions have answers. Some have more than one answer. And others have endless answers, unfolding out to the edges of the world. In this spare yet expansive narrative, acclaimed author Mac Barnett poses twenty questions both playful and profound. Some make us giggle. Others challenge our assumptions. The result is a quirky, wandering exploration of where the best questions lead—to stories. Intriguing, richly interactive, and brought to vivid life by Caldecott Honor recipient Christian Robinson’s bright and whimsical illustrations, Twenty Questions is a charming invitation to speculate without limits and know no bounds.
About the Author
Mac Barnett is the author of many beloved picture books for children, including Just Because, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; A Polar Bear in the Snow, illustrated by Shawn Harris; John’s Turn, illustrated by Kate Berube; and President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. He is also the author of several books illustrated by Jon Klassen, including Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, a Caldecott Honor Book and E. B. White Read-Aloud Award winner; the Shapes trilogy; and The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, an E. B. White Read-Aloud Award winner. Mac Barnett lives in California.
Christian Robinson is the best-selling illustrator of several books for children, including Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, which was named a Caldecott Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book; Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett; Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book; The Bench by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex; and Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. Christian Robinson lives in California.
In an endlessly inventive, tongue-in-cheek fashion, the eternally celebrated Barnett joins forces with Caldecott nominee Robinson to craft a series of questions that work in creative tandem with the illustrations. . . Stimulating conversation starters encourage children to use their imaginations. . . This unconventional picture book will be a hit in storytimes and for one-on-one sharing, as the responses will probably change whenever the book is read. Barnett and Robinson are both superstars in their own right. Together, and with a book that's built for rereading, this won't stay on shelves for long.
—Booklist (starred review)
Each spread creates its own world, inviting readers to discuss. . . A humorous vein runs through the book, but other emotions are also evoked, including poignancy. . . The clever, attractive final spread—posterworthy—manages to be both open-ended and final. Humans depicted are diverse. . . .Quirky entertainment to jump-start creativity.
Barnett and Robinson (Leo: A Ghost Story) reteam for this interactive picture book, which asks questions that spur contemplation and wonder. . . . Across a string of expansive queries, the images’ quiet understatement provides a dry counterpoint to the questions’ whimsy. . . Some pages invite speculation. . . others tease. . . All of them set readers free to notice and invent.
This conversation-starting picture book presents a series of questions and invites children to supply the answers. . . . Robinson’s textured mixed-media collages provide just enough detail and sometimes pose visual questions on which the text doesn’t even touch. . . . Even the endpapers are a delight, Robinson turning everyday objects (a banana, a mug) into question marks. This is creative, interactive picture-book fun, without question.
—The Horn Book
Barnett captions a set of Robinson’s flattened, brightly hued, paper-collage style cartoon scenes with open-ended questions for inventive story smiths. . . An inspiring set of story prompts for younger audiences, with some longer thoughts for older ones slipped in.
—School Library Journal
Curious souls will be intrigued by this picture book that wanders through questions to stories. Interactive and brought to life with Christian Robinson’s vivid illustrations, Mac Barnett’s Twenty Questions is the perfect gift for families to last throughout childhood as the open-ended nature to the book keeps it fresh and new.
—The Barnes & Nobel Blog