♦ What are questions, and what are they good for? On a beach, in a garden, visiting a museum, sitting in class with the president of the United States (a woman of color, as it happens), and elsewhere a racially diverse and compulsively inquisitive group of children demonstrate the ins and outs of productive questioning: “Are you the new teacher?” “Is this a veggie burger?” “Do you know if walruses have ears?” “Where do you park Air Force One?” Sayre describes how speakers use words such as “who” or “where” plus intonation to formulate questions in English (with a brief excursion into Spanish: “Where is the gerbil?” “¿Dónde está el jerbo?”). In explaining that questions can express curiosity or care for others as well as simply act as requests for information, she also points out situational subtleties: “Did you burp, Madam President?” can be discomfiting in some contexts, for instance, but appropriate in, say, the course of a medical exam. She also suggests that “How” questions can “ask in a gentle way about feelings, tender topics, and complicated subjects,” and that it’s OK to make mistakes in the course of learning what works and when. Younger audiences, hard-wired to start asking questions from an early age, at last have a toolbox for formulating more and better ones. “So be brave,” the author concludes. “Be bold. Ask questions!” Funny, thoughtful, and rewarding to read, no question.
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review