Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 06 Apr 2024

We the CURIOUS ONES by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Hari & Deepti

When I look back on my education, I’m increasingly dismayed at the way artificial boundaries between the sciences and the arts were constantly reinforced. The older I’ve grown the more I see what a nonsensical division this was – and just how much this circumscribed my own imagination.

So, it’s hats off to Marion Dane Bauer for her impressive and generous picture book that challenges this sterile division of art and science. In her own words this book is about ‘How stories and science shape our understanding of the universe.’ 

All living things communicate in one way or another but it seems likely that the human animal is the only one that understands the world by telling stories that explain what is happening to them. The nature of these stories will vary depending on circumstances and need – myth, religion, folklore, fiction are all attempts to find a way of communicating experiences between ourselves. What might come as more of a surprise is that science is itself a way of telling the story of our existence – a way of telling the tale that deepens the mystery of existence even more. The more we understand the less we understand: it’s the creative paradox that keeps us searching.

Bauer’s approach is to tell us the way story builds on story generation after generation through lyrical poetry that captures the magic. Our early stories, magical as they were, ended up being the springboard for the next flight of thought:

“Always though, there are those among us,

curious and courageous too,

who dare challenge

even the stories

we love,

the stories

we live by.”

That combination of imagination, science and story has taken us beyond our planet, beyond time and matter. All we can ask is what will we be able to imagine in the future:

“And we,

the curious ones,

the ones who discover,

tell stories.

The universe is waiting.

What will you discover?

What stories will you tell?”


Bauer ends the book with an Afterword in which she describes the inspiration for her poem and talks us through the historical development of ideas that have emerged from our storytelling and science.

The ideas in this book are stimulating enough on their own but they have been coupled here with the wonderful illustrative work of Hari & Deepti. The Colorado-based couple specialise in paper-cut art and light-boxes and you can see how effectively their style translates into impactful book illustration. The lyrical mysteries of the verse are mirrored in the silhouette art that fills the large format pages.

Available now from Walker Books, you will be able to get a copy from your local independent bookshop – who will be happy to order it for you if they don’t have copies on the shelf.


Terry Potter

April 2024