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Kirkus Reviews - February 15, 2011
Pfister's latest book is a sweetly simple
look at some very deep questions, allo-
wing children the opportunity to delve
into some of life's mysteries.
The questions, each presented as a
rhyming couplet, could have been just
as easily formulated by a child as by
the author – they feel like the charming
queries children seem to make when
adults least expect them. Although
readers will find no answers here, most
have scientific explanations, but others
certainly hint toward the divine. And
while the text is well written (translated
from German), it is the beautiful artwork
that will draw readers back for more.
Luminous colors and amazing textures
stand out against the stark, white
backgrounds. While new to Pfister, the
technique suits the tone of the text to a
T. Each element was cut from thick
cardboard, then painted with acrylics
and stamped onto paper to complete
the individual scenes. The result echoes
the mix of simplicity and complexity in-
herent in each question.
In a world that so often emphasizes
answers and solid facts, it is refreshing
to see a text that encourages question-
ing, whether realistic or imaginative
flights of fancy. (Picture book. 3-7)
Publisher’s Weekly - January 2011
In an age when infinite answers are
available in an instant, maybe the
questions we ask are what matter most.
“There’s so much that I want to know,”
writes Pfister, and in 13 short couplets
he shows readers how questioning is a
genuinely creative act – a way of being
fully engaged in the world. His verses
are by turns fanciful (“Do apple seeds
dream happily/ of growing up to be a
tree?”), scientifically minded (“What
turns the leaves from green to brown/
and sends them floating gently
down?”), and even fath based (“Who
teaches butterflies to fly/ splashing their
colors through the sky?”). In a depar-
ture from his Rainbow Fish series,
Pfister has created images as pity as
they are poignant, boldly graphic and
dramatically cropped against white
backgrounds. A blue-headed songbird
is reminiscent of Asian watercolour; a
storm cloud looks like it’s been fashio-
ned from salt dough; falling leaves
seem cut from pieces of thickly tufted
carpet. Altough each was created using
the same painted paper method (Ex-
plained in the final page), the results
are as varied as the questions.
Ages 3-up. (Mar.)
Midwest Book Review (Karyn's
Bookshelf) - March 2011
Bold Crayola hues beckon from the
cover of Swiss author and illustrator
Marcus Pfister's newest work. Inside a
color explosion continues, from amber
autumn leaves to angry charcoal blue
storm clouds to orange and purple
butterflies. But it's not just the color
that awes. Pfister's experimentation
with texture - applying acrylic paint to
cardboard and then thickly stamping it
onto paper -- results in page after
page of enticing composition. And the
poem-based text ponders nature's
mysteries in a wonderfully childfriendly
cadence. "Does a whale make up a
song so other whales will sing along?"
it ponders. And "do apple seeds dream
happily of growing up to be a tree?"
Migrating geese, sea shells and fire
are among the topics.
Originally published in Switzerland
and recently translated into English,
"Questions, Questions" is a rare,
near perfect symphony of art and
words, a new treasure that once
again cements Pfister as a formi-
dable writer and artist of our time.
Rainbow Fish 25th Anniversary
Every anniversary prompts the question (a question that can be
quite uncomfortable). Am I really that old? Where did the last 25
years go? Which black hole swallowed them up?
Some years ago, during a book signing, I met a young lady who
looked at me in amazement. She assumed the author of the
Rainbow Fish would be an elderly gentleman with salt and pepper
hair. I beg your pardon! Well, it took a few years but here we are.
And every anniversary unleashes memories – of minor details and
curious turns of event, of places and mostly of people. Brigitte and
Davy Sidjanski for example, the Mother and Son founder and
driving force behind NordSud Verlag. Without them the book would
never have happened. Without any of the fifteen wonderful years
working with those two people, who passed away much too young.
My own children who, when they were smaller, inspired me daily
with new stories. With an increasing sense of amazement I’ve
watched them race through their teenage years and develop into
young adults (I look forward to watching them continue to grow).
Oh yes, and then there’s the small matter of a little fish. It too has
grown and developed. Has travelled further around the world than
me. Has found it’s own stories in Israel and Palestine, in Europe
and America, Australia and Asia. In film, in song, on the stage and
in countless school productions. I congratulate you dear Rainbow
Fish! I may have introduced you into the World but the rest you’ve
done with a little help from your readers. Because it’s not enough to
write a moving story – it takes readers who are open to being
moved to make it a success.
Reviews of “Questions, questions”, 2011
Goodbye Michelle and Barack!
A memory to savour of he outgoing US President. Michelle and
Barack Obama reading the Rainbow Fish at the White House Eas-
ter Egg Roll in 2016. Thanks for everything!