Het Raadsel van Alles Wat Leeft is about nothing less than everything that has come after the Big Bang. It is written for inquiring young minds in such a lively style that adults too will find it difficult to put down. The panel were enthusiastic about the systematic approach to the whole and above all the strong mutual connection between Jan Paul Schutten’s text and Floor Rieder’s illustrations. The latter contain their own carefully lettered texts and in that way carry their own captions within them.
All chapter headings and subheadings are in the interrogative form, a neat way of appealing to the enviable curiosity of children. Consistently, questions, answers and images together make up a spread, almost as in a graphic novel. No text runs over to the next page, but naturally the story continues.
One panel member remained critical of the typography. ‘These days the history of letters and books simply isn’t taught, and you can see the effect here in an impossible jumble of typefaces,’ he said, referring principally to the light sans serif used for the capitals in the headlines. However, not all members of the panel found this an irritation, though there was unanimous agreement that the measure or line length of the versos was far too great. All in all, though, the panel were agreed that this unusual book should not be omitted from the selection.