[Hershovitz] seems to me needlessly insulting to his children ... Despite the dust jacket’s claim that the book is 'hilarious', humour does not seem to me Hershovitz’s forte. What he does, chapter by chapter, is to question the boys so as to bring out the meaning of a selection of philosophical topics — truth, revenge, punishment, the mind, authority, infinity, God, and so on, and this is where the book gets interesting ... He is not as good when he ceases to reason with his children and scoots off on his own ... There are moments when it seems Hershovitz despairs of reasoning with his children, though it is what he does best throughout the book ... This is an enormously rich and mind-expanding book, which anyone will gain from reading, especially parents.
You’ll certainly learn much, or be reminded of much ... Yet one frets for Hershovitz, having not yet encountered in his parenting journey (yes, he calls this book a 'journey') the hardest problem of all: adolescence, when the family’s 'epistemic bubble' is rudely burst and communication is sometimes reduced to grunts ... How will Hank feel in a few years to have a published account of his ultrasound result, in a chapter on sex and gender ... 'If you haven’t written something worth criticizing, you haven’t written something worthwhile,' Hershovitz writes, so he surely won’t mind being asked: What will your sequel be, when the kids are nasty, brutish, taller than you and pinging around on Discord? Tell me another case, my daddy.
Ultimately, Hershovitz's approach, in betting on his children's endless capacity to ask trenchant questions, has a bittersweet aspect — it's at once like faith and doubt. Rex and Hank's childhood years are finite. The portal to their seemingly infinite aptitude for wonder may close once they reach adulthood. Nevertheless, Hershovitz reminds parents to embrace our children's 'strangeness' as long as we can, and maybe in the process find our way back to the questing child-philosopher within us.