Monday, January 16, 2012


Written by Brigitte Raab

Illustrated by Manuela Olten

(North-South Books, 2006)

Young readers are exposed to many stories. Engaging nonfiction books are harder to find. First published in German—how fun would it to be to learn how to properly pronounce Wo w√§chst der Pfeffer?Where Does Pepper Come From? offers silly and serious answers to questions most of us (including adults) have cannot explain with our own general knowledge.

As an example, Raab asks, “Why are flamingos pink?” The silly answer is, “Because they’re embarrassed about being stared at in the zoo.” Manuela Olten provides an equally amusing illustration, with a dog barking at the birds and a man snapping a photo while an exhausted child has a public meltdown and two other children are more interested in fighting over cotton candy than observing the more natural wildlife. You’ll have to grab a copy of the book to find out the real explanation, told in an efficient twenty-five words.

All but one of the humorous answers is greeted by a simple “No!” with quirky pictures of children being told their guesses are off base. The factual answers are accompanied by several cells of illustrations to enrich the text.

It is a quick read, only eight questions and answers, including the title query. Aside from the common theme of being based in nature, there is no particular link between the questions. The book reads like trivia and, as with all trivia, some of it will be retained, but most will be quickly forgotten. That’s all right. Seeing the cover will remind children that the book is a good read and many will want to dive back in for another trivia round, taking pleasure in what they recall and relearning all that has been forgotten.

Answers to questions you may have never even contemplated about salt, pepper, sheep and migrating birds await.


  1. Hey Gregory! I just found your blog - it's great!! This looks like a fun book - thanks for posting about it!

  2. Hi Lori!
    Thanks for the comment and the reTweet. Hope all is well with you and that you are continuing with your writing!