What do you tell your 3-year-old in response to that? I know why. Is she too young to know or understand why? Maybe, but a) I want model honesty and helpfulness to my children; b) I don't believe in fielding a child's "why" questions with variations of "just because." "I don't know" is a valid answer, but as I said, in this case, I did know why.
So I gave a very general answer about the painter being a person who wasn't always happy and how he hurt his ear during the one of his very sad times. And she kept asking, "Why does he have a bandage; why was he sad?"
We ended up talking about how some people need to have help when they feel very bad, about how it is important to try to understand and help those who seem to be going through a rough time, about the existence of mental illness, about how her father and I will always be there for her to help her when she needs us. Still she asked about the bandage. I finally pointed out that yes, he has a bandage, but he seems to have found his smile again and is apparently happy now. That satisfied her. She needed it articulated that there could be a happy outcome.
And she was thrilled to discuss doing her birthday painting on Tuesday after looking at the artwork in the book. :D
Last year's fun