Why? by Billy Dunne Review

A Sciencey, Rhymey Guide to Rainbows


After a period of rain (which we have had a lot of lately) when the sun pops its head out, if we are lucky, we may get to see a rainbow – that magical arc of seven colours (although strictly speaking there are more than seven colours in a rainbow). We all know that if you can find the end of the rainbow you can find a pot of gold. I’ve never found a pot of gold or the end of a rainbow for that matter – that might be something to do the fact that rainbows are optical illusions and leprechauns, fairies and their magical pots of gold don’t exist. Or do they? But have you ever wondered how a rainbow is created? And how would you explain it to a child if you they asked how? This is the basis of the story of the new picture book from debut author Billy Dunne in Why? published by Maverick Books.

Why? is a 32-page picture book, written by debut author Billy Dunne and illustrated by Rhys Jefferys. It is a simple tale of a dad out for a walk with his young daughter when they spot a beautiful rainbow. Sounds quite charming until she looks up and asks the dreaded question that every parent must hear multiple times a day – WHY? Dad is quite confident he can answer her question and is quite proud when he gives a good solid answer using scientific terms. But kids are like little sponges, always wanting more (they remind me of the robot Number 5 in the film Short Circuit, always looking for more “input”) and she continues to ask why?

The book is a sciencey, rhymey guide to rainbows so explains the real science behind the formation of a rainbow. If explains about colours, light refraction, wave lengths and even gets into the realms of photo quantum fields (don’t let that put you off, you don’t need a science degree to understand the story).

As the story progresses, dad is getting more and more anxious (until he ends up a blubbering mess on the floor) with each why and explanation in his efforts to satisfy her curiosity. When she sees his discomfort, she gives him a hug and lets him know he could have just given a simple answer. They walk off happily hand-in-hand until she spots an apple falling from a tree, putting dad into another sweat.

Why? – written by Billy Dunne and illustrated by Rhys Jefferys

Overall, this is a fun “science” book that will entertain the kids and the reader. The strapline of “A Sciencey, Rhymey Guide to Rainbows” sets the tone of the book and contains facts about the real science behind a rainbow (not the myth of leprechauns and pots of gold).

Whilst it goes into the science behind a rainbow, it is written using simple and understandable facts that will teach children and the adult readers something new.

It is a book that every parent and carer can relate to with the constant barrage of “Why?” that children seem to know no end to. The constant cries of “Why?” may be tiring, and at times annoying, but children should never be discouraged from asking questions as to why things work.

The illustrations, by Rhys Jefferys, are superbly drawn and coloured – uncluttered illustrations that are very colourful and show what is happening very clearly.

Why? is a delightful and warm story of a loving father/daughter relationship with science presented in a fun and easy understandable way. The rhyming text flows well, creating a short and enjoyable read.

A fun and enjoyable book that will entertain and teach. Whilst the kids may not fully grasp the science behind a rainbow, they will enjoy reading about it. And who knows, the next time you are asked what a rainbow is and how it is formed you will be armed with the information to give a scientific answer, or maybe just find a simple way to answer.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £7.99 (paperback)

For more information, visit Maverick Books. Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purposes of writing a honest and impartial review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.