Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just Because” as Want to Read:
Just Because
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Just Because

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Curious minds are rewarded with curious answers.

Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Candlewick Press (MA)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Just Because, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Just Because

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  556 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Just Because
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of imagination! When my youngest daughter and I started reading it, I wasn't sure about it because as the child in the story asks questions, her father gives her absurd answers in return. But then we were laughing...and then we were talking...and then we were reading it all over again.

Child: "What happened to the dinosaurs?"

Father: "Millions of years ago, thousands of asteroids fell on the earth. But the dinosaurs had planned for this. They fastened themselves to big balloons,
Lisa Vegan
For me, the best thing about this book was the adorable dog on every page. So cute!

I have enjoyed many Mac Barnett books, especially Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, and I do often like quirky, odd books, but I wasn’t wild about this book.

When I saw that this was about a child asking “Why” and other questions, I thought that this would be a great book for 6 and 5 and 4 year olds. Maybe it’s my adulthood showing but I didn’t like the answers. I wanted the truth, not dreamily fantastical
David Schaafsma
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
"Why do we have to sleep?--little girl, in Just Because (Answer key below)

Isabelle Arsenault is one of my favorite illustrators and I have liked a couple of Mac Barnett's picture books, too, because he takes an unconventional approach to writing for children, but this is not my favorite work from either of them, as unconventional as it is.

The set up is a girl ready to go to sleep who asks her father questions most adults find difficult to answer (without Siri, that is): Why is the sky blue?
La Coccinelle
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Though this might look like a book for children, it's not. It's for adults, aimed at those who already know the answers to lots of basic questions and can appreciate the creativity of the answers in this book. Children are often credulous. A book like this will only serve to confuse.

A little girl is going to bed, and she asks all sorts of questions of her father. His answers are fantastical and imaginative... but they're not truthful. I can just imagine the embarrassment and feeling of betrayal
The illustrations are wonderful as always, but I've never not liked Isabelle Arsenault. The text leaves a lot to be desired, and it's kind of the inverse of My Little Book of Big Questions which some of my coworkers have been reading on desk lately. There are real questions that have real answers here and I'm not too keen on the parent's wild fabrications. Could you use it as a jumping off point to actually talk about these questions? Sure. But I would rather them be taken seriously from the ...more
B Pastore
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love children's books .. but unfortunately this isn't one of them.

While I agree that children "... are always looking for more than the answer "just because!" There is a problem with answering each question from this wonderfully inquisitive child with a fairy tale answer. In this book answers that could have been jumping off points for wonderful child age appropriate factual discussions/stories have become fairy tales instead.

The book answers questions like "Why is the ocean blue?", "What is
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, firstreads
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A fun children's book, where a little girl doesn't want to go to bed, and so she asks her father questions. He doesn't know the answers, so he makes up something suitable.

The illustrations are good too, especially of the answers.
Rod Brown
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Goodreads Choice Awards Project: Read as many of the Best Picture Book nominees as possible. 1 to go!

I liked the first few pages because it reminded me of the dad from Calvin & Hobbes (, and I have a personal tick about referring to fish randomly and nonsensically. But the book really had nowhere to go with the concept so they just ripped off the twist reveal from Unusual Suspects and limped out the last few pages.
Miss Ryoko
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book and people are definitely going to think I'm being super nit-picky. I thought the answers to the little girl's questions were creative and fun, however (and yes I know this is a fictional book) one of the things that makes me crazy in this world is when parents won't answer kids' questions honestly. So while yes, this book is a work of fiction and if was creative, it also reinforces the notion of not telling kids truths when they ask questions. To make it ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
The story of a father who lies to his child when she asks hard questions . . . not my thing.
Leonard Kim
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Barnett is on a roll. I could almost have given five stars but, you know, back off, man, I’m a scientist.
Chance Lee
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-it
The dad in this book is either an idiot or trolling his child, but I didn't hate this "stupid answers to kids' questions" book as much as I thought I would.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Instant classic
I love Mac Barnett but I was disappointed in this story. While a parent can tell “tall tales” , this child asked legitimate questions and I believe needed legitimate answers or at least dad could eventually come around to the truth. Enjoyed the illustrations. (Had a GOODNIGHT MOON feel)
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book after the first few pages. The sweet, calm fashion of this book had soon expanded and now, I was feeling the same way. The situation was all too familiar for me and if only I could turn back time, it could have been me in that room, answering those questions.

Everything in this book made it perfect for me. The way the book was laid out, its illustrations, and its text; everything had its proper place and time.

As I watched the adult male in the illustrations, I liked
Brenda Kahn
Had the privilege of hearing the author read his latest picture book aloud to close his keynote at SLJ Day of Dialog. I love it more with each reading. The art has retro feel that perfectly complements the unpredictable text. This should be a bedtime favorite.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
While perhaps not utterly perfect, I quite liked this book! I love how the imagery adds a deeper context to the story. It's not just a father answering his inquisitive child's questions with fun answers. The father's inventive imagination adds color to the child's world, enriching an otherwise simple reality.

It could easily be a story that factually answers each question - and I personally feel that the world, the cosmos is full of incredible, intriguing, beautiful, and amazing things that can
The questions are what you might imagine, "Why is the ocean blue?" and "Why do the leaves change color?", but the answers, oh, those answers are beautiful, loving, and connect perfectly to the ending. You will understand when you read. Nighttime 'mostly' black and white illustrations show the father at the doorway ready to say goodnight, but moving into the room, closer, then onto the bed as the little girl asks more, and more. The fun surprises at the end show the room widening, and with sharp ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Okay, I can see this both ways: the fact-lover in me was somewhat aghast that the answers the child was given to her legitimate questions were fantastical; but I also know that I loved the stories like this that my dad would give to me and my sisters when we were little. He would make up stories about our dog visiting the queen, and how the rabbit smoked cigarettes and so on. We adored him for that- and we knew, of course, that they were just fun stories. So while I totally get where people who ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My kid said he loved this and I asked him what he liked about it and he said, "Because it's about thinking." The parent in me appreciates the idea, and I'm glad my kid got it, but I didn't like it as much as he did.
Fantastic artwork though!
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love Mac Barnett.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: story-time
I adored this book. Unlike the title suggests, this dad has a clever response for all of his curious child's questions. This is a great one for story time!
Connie Heneghan
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
I loved this picture book for adults who have had to answer the difficult questions.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A young girl asks a lot of life’s big questions right before bed and her father gets creative with this responses. This book is sure to be a children’s classic.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gentle yet entertaining story from Mac Barnett. I love that it's the dad who comes to answer the girl's seemingly endless questions at bedtime, and I really love that the girl's bedroom is a mess. I feel seen!
This picture book was so cute and the illustrations were absolutely wonderful.

As a child, have you asked an adult tons of questions only to be dismissed and answered with a simple, 'Just Because'? Or have you ever been bombarded by questions from a tiny human with no idea how to explain certain things?

Well, in this book, a little girl asks her dad a bunch of questions as he tucks her in at night. He responds with the most creative and fun answers.

For example:
Why do birds fly south for the
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Perfect for kids full of questions, and parents who enjoy developing creative answers. The illustrations are simply gorgeous. A real winner!
Mama Suzi Moses
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a blast reading this aloud. Especially emphasizing the child's growing sleepiness and the parent's growing frustration. My 3-year-old enjoyed the silly explanations.
Pam  Page
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
All of those questions young children ask...this shows a very patient dad trying to answer them! Love these illustrations that have a "vintage feel".
Lisa Newman
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Fun illustrations. Clever text/story!
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Final Round
3,834,339 Votes Cast

Readers also enjoyed

  • Who Wet My Pants?
  • Small in the City
  • The Fate of Fausto
  • Spencer's New Pet
  • The Scarecrow
  • Sulwe
  • The Proudest Blue
  • Pokko and the Drum
  • Fly!
  • A Stone Sat Still
  • Truman
  • Why?
  • Unicorn Day
  • I Want a Dog
  • Ruby’s Worry
  • Why?
  • Once Upon a Goat
  • Bear Came Along
See similar books…
Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac Barnett now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »