Book cover

“What Would Happen? Serious Answers to Silly Questions” by Crispin Boyer

c.2017, National Geographic Kids $14.99 / $19.99 Canada 176 pages

Mom says you’ve got a big imagination.

She’s probably right. You see things differently, and can look at something and spot possibilities and uses beyond the normal things any object is made for. You like to take them apart, whether in real life or in your mind and, as in the new book “What Would Happen?” by Crispin Boyer, you like to ask “What if … ?”

If you could change the world in any way, what would you do?

Before answering that question, you need to know what you’re proposing. What might be the consequences of your changes? How might things be different? In this book, you’ll see what could become of your ideas.

What, for instance, would happen if you ate nothing but ice cream for the rest of your life? You’d be bored, first of all, and you wouldn’t feel like moving much. Let’s just say it’s not recommended. Not eating at all is likewise not advised.

Or what if you never got old? It might be fun for a while but, assuming you’re the only one who gets to skateboard through the centuries, you’d get lonesome with your family and friends gone. Even so, it could happen; scientists believe they can give humans a 1,200-year lifespan someday.

It could be cool to have a tail like a monkey, or to pet a Woolly Mammoth (hey, scientists may be able to bring them back soon!). It might be fun to live in space, too, although visiting your Earthling cousins could bring a bit of a challenge.

And despite that it might seem like the right thing to do, it’s not a good idea at all to kill off the world’s mosquitoes.

What if Neanderthals were still around? The answer might surprise you! What if you fell into a volcano? What if you could become invisible, or could teleport to anywhere or any time? And what are you doing without this fun book?

If you know a curious kid, it’s a good question because “What Would Happen?” tackles subjects that your child might ponder. This book also asks a kid to think further, and uniquely.

That might sound like work to a young reader, but flights of fancy and imagination are enjoyable with author Crispin Boyer, who has included simple, mundane ideas that are almost too easy, as well as thought-provokers that are surprisingly complex. Colorful photos help explain the narrative to struggling readers and engage those who are book-averse. Children will find silliness in this book, but there’s plenty of seriousness here, too: Boyer also explains whether each idea is plausible, what science says about it, and the “side effects” of reality.

Eight- to 14-year-olds who enjoy learning about new things, and those who ask “Why not?” and demand answers, will find that just irresistible. For them, “What Would Happen?” is a book you can easily imagine they’ll love.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.