The Essential Question

Submitted By:
Elizabeth Morley, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Lab School, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

Do You Wonder? by Wallace Edwards
North Winds Press, September 6, 2022

This is the picture book that could spark, every time we turn the page, a welcome flurry of thinking, conversations, and the kind of adventurous journeys of discovery we hope our youngest students will find inside the covers of very good books. Award winning author and illustrator, Wallace Edwards, takes generous two-page spreads to ask an “I wonder” question and then to delight the imagination with drawings that make us laugh, imagine, realize, or ask a new question. Some pages seem everyday-ordinary: I wonder where the banana went. Some seem to open a wide corridor of possibilities: I wonder who was here before me. Parents and teachers will recognize the gentle invitation to inquiry throughout, but so will the children, who may see in the open-ended, few-words-needed text an uncommon opportunity to provide their own stories and wonderings. Asking why some things are difficult gives a chance to reflect on challenges that require adaptations and affordances. (Of course, porcupines and balloons must connect with superb care!) And the "I wonder who decides what is important" pages represent the decisions we make because of our values: Which object will the flamingo give the one blue ribbon award to – a rocket ship, a red apple, or a fancy shoe? With a goal to support learning and self-discovery, Do You Wonder? is the essential question asked, but still to be answered, in these delightful, and likely to become beloved, pages.