Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All Book Poster Image
Curiosity meets overconfidence in funny, epic face-off.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Little Miss Know-It-All is a font of isolated facts, many of them fascinating but not all of them true. Parents should be careful to point out the misinformation.

Positive Messages

After their exhausting showdown, Question Boy and Little Miss Know-It-All are finally able to have a respectful conversation: no shouting, and plenty of listening and sharing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Question Boy doesn't give up: He's curious, and he wants answers! And he won't settle for just the facts — he wants to understand everything. Grownups lose patience with him, an all-too-familiar problem for young readers, but their extreme reaction — running away with a look of terror — strikes a strange note.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that not all of Little Miss Know-It-All's facts are true -- a note on the back cover of this imaginative book points out some of her claims are "malarkey." This may not be obvious to parents reading the story aloud, and it's worth identifying the made-up assertions to kids -- before they confidently inform classmates that baby camels are "camelots."

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What's the story?

As Question Boy encounters the everyday heroes in his town, he confounds them with questions. Garbage Man, Police Woman, Mechanic Man, Paperboy -- none can handle his relentless curiosity. Then he encounters Little Miss Know-It-All, who not only answers his every question but nearly subdues him with a shouted barrage of facts (some true, some not). He's just about to give up, but then thinks of one more question: \"Why?\" She answers with every parent's exasperated, end-of-discussion retort: \"Because I said so!\" The two heroes, tired and worn out, shake hands and walk away friends.

Is it any good?

The entertaining characters here will be familiar to young kids (and their parents); even more fun is imagining the neighborhood peopled with costumed superheroes. Even the paperboy dons tights and a cape in illustrations evocative of comic books. 
 
The mix of facts and fiction is funny, but somewhat unfortunate. Less-alert parents might not notice the misinformation -- for example, Benjamin Franklin of course didn't invent the electric guitar. The sight of adults fleeing a child's relentless questioning will get a chuckle from parents, but young kids might wonder why the grownups look so frightened. When reading this aloud to kids, parents should be ready --  as always! -- to answer questions.
 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about asking questions and finding the answers. Why do so many "heroes" run away from Question Boy? What's the problem? Do you think they mind answering just a few questions?

  • Little Miss Know-It-All seems smart -- but is she really? Parents can talk about the importance of not believing everything you're told, and thinking for yourself.

  • Families can talk about good ways to find answers to questions. Help kids do a little research in a children's encyclopedia or nonfiction book, or guide them with some online research.

  • Parents can talk with kids about how to have polite conversations. Question Boy doesn't know when to back off, and Little Miss Know-It-All has an answer for everything -- and a tendency to dominate the conversation. When you first meet the characters, are they very likable? How about at the end?
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