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Book Review: Why? Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions by Joel Levy

If you have ever been around a toddler, you know that their two favorite words are “Why” and “No”.  As a librarian, I deal with Why a lot.  Why by Joel Levy is way to provide quick, concise answers to a lot of the most popular Why questions in an easy to understand format.

What are plants green?
Why did the dinosaurs die out?d
Why does it rain?
Why can’t we hear dog whistles?
Why are puppies and babies considered universally cute?
Why does E=MC2?

Each question presented – and there are 55 total – are answered in a brief 2 or 3 page explanation.  Sometimes there are illustrations to help you understand the answers.  Apparently babies and puppies are cute because they have big eyes and smaller features, as we grow into our eyes we become less cute.  This totally explains the popularity of anime and manga.  Just saying.  It has something to do with neoteny (new word alert!) where “creatures keep features associated with very early stages of development” (p. 119).

Gratuitous cute puppy pic . . .

Why by Levy is published by Zest Books, which excels in what I call “browse-able books” – or, if you prefer, bathroom books.  You don’t have to sit down and read them cover to cover because they give you snippets of information in short bursts – great for reluctant readers (and the bathroom).   What, some people keep books in their bathroom, I have seen it.  The questions are divided by type of science (Nature and Earth, Human Body and Mind, Physics and Space) and there is also selected references,a bibliography and an index (Yay for an index!!).

I wish it had a more appealing cover, but the information inside is interesting and easily accessible.  The Mr. even read it and his verdict was this: “They covered a lot of interesting information in a way that was easy to understand, I actually liked it.”

Highly recommended.  ISBN: 978-0-9827322-9-8. Price $10.99.