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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  75 reviews
"[Adam] Rex delivers a storytime home run—hilarious, heartfelt, instructive, and interactive." Booklist, starred review

A sweet and appealing tale for anyone familiar with the universal tendency of young children to always ask WHY? When supervillain Doctor X-Ray swoops in threatening to vanquish an innocent crowd, the only one brave enough not to run away is a little girl,
Hardcover, 60 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  350 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The incessant "why"s of this kid lead a super villain to deep analysis of his motivations. This book has great humor and ultimately a good moral. Lots of humor in the illustrations as well as the writing. Love it.
Shane Harcombe
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun book that leads you in unexpected directions as we follow "Why?" down the rabbit hole. Entertaining, but parents may regret reading it to their precocious children!
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, storytime
A really cute book about a villain, Dr. X-Ray, who wants to take over the world. In his quest, he runs into a little girl at the mall, who is constantly questioning, "Why?" This simple question makes Dr. X-Ray reconsider his villainous ways, and he leaves the hero.

I wasn't sure of the illustrations at first, but the style really grew on me by the end. A simple premise of asking "why?" should not be as entertaining as it was in this book. Dr. X-Ray's reconsideration of his villainous ways made
Abby Johnson
Incessant questions from a toddler thwart a supervillain determined to take over the world in this funny, action-packed picture book.
Michele Knott
A super villain entertains a young girl's incessant "why" questions to get to the root of his issues. Anyone with experience with toddlers will laugh at this one.
In a world where, unfortunately, violent attacks at places like the shopping mall in this curious picture book are all too real and happening with alarming frequency, we ALL should ask WHY. A supervillain crashes into a busy shopping mall bent on destruction, when a little girl approaches to ask WHY. Each time the villain gives an answer, her response is another WHY. As the story progresses, the villain looks more deeply into his motives and the result is his turning away from his evil plans. ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has hung out with a toddler or young child knows that their super power is asking the question why. And in this book, with just a simple question a super villian is stopped on his path to world domination.

Why I started this book: It's the wonderful time of the month, when our new books come in.

Why I finished it: Loved the illustrations, and the fearless example of asking questions. Okay asking one question, over and over again.
Heather McC
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Cute for whole group read alouds, lots of opportunities for chanting the title of the book. The book could lead to meaningful discussions on why we do what we do and what it means to be true to yourself.

WHY not read the book and find out for yourself?
Alex Richey
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really made me think a lot. And it has knitting in it.
Dec 27, 2019 added it
Shelves: funny
It's always good to ask why.
A despicable villain tries to take over the world, but is stymied by a young, inquisitive child. Insistent on knowing "why," the young child forces the supervillain to take a deeper look at his motivations. A very interactive picture book, my own three-year-old had a great time chiming in with each "why?"
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who needs a therapist? Just hang around with a preschooler whose continuing question "Why?" prompts the supervillain Dr. X-Ray to to explore his inner motivations.

I'm not sure the kids will get the villain's answers but they will get the joke of the repeated question and Rex's illustrations have super-entertaining powers of their own to keep the pages turning.

There's fun here for adult AND child readers.
Karen Arendt
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Positive and humorous story to share with those who might bully others. That cheeky gurl wears down evil with one simple word.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book
This book drove me CRAZY! Maybe I'm still too much in the thick of the "why" stage to want to read a book about it...I'm living it. Plus my littles didn't catch the whole conversation of the book. The man coming to his own self-realization was a little above their heads.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up because that's me right there on the cover. I know, I know, I'm much younger than I look.

It wasn't what I thought it would be at all and I'm so thankful. The writing was wonderful, the art was beautiful and both were interesting.

This book helps me (and I hope children) understand how important it is to ask questions.
Tonja Drecker
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
With a simple question and tons of visual action, what appears to be a humorous dialogue exposes deep meaning and clever thought.

A dangers, destructive super villain swoops into the mall and destroys everything in his path. The only thing which brings him to a halt is the question of one little girl: why? And the villain answers as honestly as he can, but each answer brings another 'why'. While the world rushes around, the little girl brings the villain deeper and deeper into an unexpected
Striking digital illustrations highlight an outlandish experience in which Doctor X-Ray frightens all the visitors to a popular mall--all except one intrepid little girl who stops him in his tracks when she asks the question, "Why?" at every turn. He takes her question seriously, and begins a soliloquy in response with her interjecting the same question at various turns. In the end, he rethinks the way he's living, thanks to her simple question, and she and her mother, reunited once more, head ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: educ-401
“Why?” Is a book that shows the importance of finding a person’s motivations for their actions, how questions can be helpful, and illustrates character development. When the child’s questions of “why” reveal more about the man’s reasons for his actions it causes him to reflect and change his perspective on what he should be doing. He transitions from villain to hopeful hero to just a man. This shows his change, along with why he changes. All of this is driven by the child’s questioning which can ...more
Ms Threlkeld
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
When the diabolical Doctor X-Ray shows up at the mall threatening to destroy the world he is stopped in his tracks by a little girl who asks a very simple question – why? With each statement the villain makes the girl asks “why?,” which encourages him to dig a little deeper and identify his motivations. By the end of the book the man has saved himself years of therapy by realizing he can be his own hero and follow his heart. This is a fun read aloud that will have students asking why for the ...more
Age: Older preschool-2nd grade

A supervillian blasts into a mall, striking fear in the population as everyone runs for their lives. Except for one preschooler how wants to know why: why no one can withstand the power of Doctor X-Ray; why is his battle suit indestructible; why it's his destiny to rule the world. With each explanation and each rebuttal (Why?), Doctor X-Ray delves deeper into the reasons behind his treacherous ways.

A sneaky origin story for a villain, enjoyable for both listener
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I’m the bad guy, aren’t I? I thought I was the hero.”

Doctor X-Ray breaks into the mall with an intent of taking over the world. He screams “No one can understand the power of Doctor X-Ray!” And that’s his mistake. Because when a young girl asks “Why?”, it leads him down a somewhat psychotherapeutic path. Every time he answers her question she responds with another “Why?” until he finally figures out that this whole plot of his was just to make his father proud of him. Suddenly, taking over the
Lauren- The Smile Lines
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
@chroniclebooks #partner
The word WHY is often said in my house! Anyone else?!
Why? by @mr.adamrex is very funny! A super villain tries to cause trouble!! All of a sudden this young girl asks him WHY? Dr. X-Ray begins to answer the repeated question and learns a lot about himself!
It is a silly and sweet story that kids and adults will enjoy! The illustrations by @claireonacloud are great! I love the expressions on the little girl’s face!
Sahara Scott
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
We've all been around this kid, right? It was a fun twist on a common phrase. I also really like the illustrations in this one. It gives me Charlie Brown-esque with the pictures. I think the illustrator had fun mimicking what an adult would do vs what a kid would do. I thought it was pretty spot on. Would definitely read this to a kiddo that was around kindergarten to 1st grade, maybe even preschoolers.
In this humorous picture book a young child helps a villain consider his motives. She asks him WHY? over and over. As a read-aloud, it would work well to use two distinct voices for the child and the villain. Eventually the listeners will chime in on the repeated WHY?
At the beginning of the year this humorous story could be used to underscore the importance of asking questions and of learning underlying causes.
Tie-in with introducing question words, punctuation.
Amanda Marrone
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, but the students in my room, ages 7 and 8 were not so wild about it. The rehashing of the supervillain's childhood didn't connect with them--I guess the dashed dreams of a would-be knitter was not something they could relate too. Thinking adults might it enjoy it more than some of the kids.
Katie Haasch
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A youngster saves the world from a neurotic super villain who wants to take over the world with his powerful x-ray. By continuing to ask "why" (a known tactic for putting off a bully), the cherub gets the gangster to confess his inner-most neurosis and came down enough to leave the mall alone. Weird.
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Though, I wasn't a fan of the illustrations, the book concept was original off the bat! From the title and the picture, I imagined this book would be about a little girl asking everyone around her "why" all the time. But I never thought about how annoyed a supervillian would be if a little girl was questioning him in the middle of his attempt to take over the world. This book is hilarious!
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this touching tale, a supervillan is dissuaded from villainy by a little girl why has just one question: Why? Touching lightly on childhood expectations and questioning "winning" as a goal, I highly enjoyed. Though it's in picture book format, I would say this is best read at an older age, say 9 and up.
Allison Turkish
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I like the premise of the book and the message that “bad guys” aren’t always bad. This book can also open a conversation about asking questions of others and how that can lead you to understand someone better.
Unfortunately, the illustrations and length of the book and the ending didn’t add to my enjoyment of the book. Hence, just 3 stars.
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Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He was neither the smart one (older brother) or the cute one (younger sister), but he was the one who could draw. He took a lot of art classes as a kid, trying to learn to draw better, and started painting when he was 11. And later in life he was drawn down to Tucson in order to hone his skills, get a BFA from the University of ...more
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