The Wonder


  • The Wonder
  • written and illustrated by Faye Hanson
  • published by Templar Books/Candlewick Press (2015)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Pablo Picasso

I have to admit, I’m kind of a sucker for books that extol the wonders (excuse the pun) of one’s imagination. And The Wonder by Faye Hanson does this beautifully.

We follow a young boy as he makes his way to school with his head full of wonderings and musings about the world around him. He of course wonders about some of the common things all kids wonder: where birds fly to and how clouds are formed. But, somewhat unusually, he also wonders how street signs taste.

This is a kid after my own heart.

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Unfortunately, the adults he encounters during the day are less than supportive of his daydreams and wonderings. They all try to correct him and set him back on a “proper” path. “You’ve got your head in the clouds.” “No daydreaming today.” “Pay attention!”

That all changes once he gets to art class, however. It’s there that he’s presented with a blank piece of paper and the encouragement to “just use your imagination.” And it all comes pouring out.

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The book then presents us with five absolutely gorgeous double-page spreads, some of which present fantastic explanations for how clouds are formed and why stars shine (both of which had been bothering the boy on his walk to school). The illustrations are incredibly detailed, and it’s worth spending time to pore over them. You will undoubtedly reveal treasures within.

My daughter (6) was particularly impressed with these illustrations, since she thought that’s what the boy drew on his paper. “Wow. He’s a much better artist than me.”

The Wonder is a beautiful ode to creativity and imagination, and we really can’t have too much of that. Every now and then, we need to escape from “reality” and encourage our kids to become consumed by their imagination . . . not to be afraid or ashamed of it.

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(Disclosure: Candlewick Press provided a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.