A Book
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A Book

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  349 ratings  ·  119 reviews
A CHILD IN SEARCH OF HER STORY Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein looks at books from a whole new angle.



Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a book. All but the youngest had stories they belonged to--fighting fires, exploring space, entertaining in the circus--but she didn't have one yet. Walking through all the possibilities of story types Mordicai Gerstein...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Roaring Brook Press
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Lisa Vegan
Aug 12, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: encouraging children to write, especially for children familiar with classic children’s stories
(This is my review number 750 for Goodreads.)

This book really tickled my funny bone, and it’s yet another creative picture book; I’ve read so many clever picture books lately.

In this one, a young girl knows she’s in a book but doesn’t know what the book’s/her story is. She goes searching for her story, through many different genres of children’s (some for adults too) books, and the end result is very satisfying.

I loved all the illustrations. Particularly funny (and accurate) were the pictures wi...more
Kathryn
I wasn't sure at first whether I would like this book, but by the end I really loved it! It is so funny and fantastical and unusual--I love the beginning, "There was a father and a mother, a girl and a boy, and some pets. When the book was closed it was night in the book and the family slept. When the book was open, it was morning and the family woke up." Then, they begin their day--all the characters have something to do, except the little girl. So she sets out to find HER story. Along the way,...more
N_kellie
I think Mordicai Gerstein’s idea of writing a book, about a book is clever, but somehow I struggled to understand what his intentions were. Was he hoping that the readers would be inspired to write a story of their own, or perhaps maybe he thought the reader would appreciate the little girl’s journey as she searched for her own story? I wasn’t inspired, and I finished the story not liking the little girl.
This interactive tale starts with a black page that explains, “when the book was closed it...more
Barbara
Breaking the boundary between author/illustrator and reader, this cleverly-written picture book can be summed up as a story about a character in search of a story. Starting with her father, each of the characters heads off to star in their own stories. She wanders into various types of stories, including fair tales with familiar characters such as the three bears from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," the wolf from "Little Red Riding-Hood," and from there she heads into mysteries with their fami...more
Heather Bowden
I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was a great idea to write a book about the characters in a book. I would use this book to talk about writers' block, the girl in the story had to go through many stories that didn't fit her, to find her story. Students can relate to this when they say, I don't have anything to write about!
Morgan
A nice book to read one-on-one with someone over 5. I don't think the under-5 crowd would get it.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I like the unique perspective in this book quite a lot. Literally. The illustrations are done from an angled overhead view that helps the characters pop off the page with a shadow behind them. The idea behind the plot is also very creative, exploring different types of stories as well as presenting a metaphor for career choices. I really enjoyed this but had some problems falling in love with the book. While I like the illustrations, I'm not sure that the quality of the page design is quite as g...more
Ally Copper
Do you ever get the idea that children's book authors are just trying to out-clever each other? That some authors aren't necessarily looking for the next great story but instead for the next great concept? That some authors are looking for readers to be impressed rather than engaged? That is how I felt when I began Mordicai Gerstein's "A Book." Gerstein has a lot of fun playing around with the concept of books, and in doing so he introduces readers to various genres. In "A Book," the character n...more
Kalee Stegehuis
Want to read a book that titled “A Book?” I mean, who wouldn’t? Here is a picture book that breaks the fourth wall. It is clever, artistic, and fun.

Gerstein gets creative with this delightful book. It is the story of a girl who wishes to know her place in the current story. Everyone else in her family knows what people are reading about them, but where does she fit in?

This is an intelligent picture book in which readers are actually looking down on the pages as if they are watching a play with a...more
Ed
Dec 05, 2012 Ed added it
Gerstein, Mordicai. (2009). A Book. New Milford, Connecticut: Roaring Brook. 48 pp. ISBN 978-1-59643-251-2 (Hardcover); $16.95.

In a hilarious spoof on literary genres, a young girl attempts to visualize her place in the world. Just how does one communicate the essential details of life to others? Gerstein’s book serves as an excellent introduction to various types of literature. As well as being laugh out loud funny, Gerstein manages to provide students with much to ponder germane to potential c...more
Amy Musser
Once upon a time there was a family that lived in a book. Everyone in the family, including the cat and the dog and the fish, knew exactly what their story was and in the morning they each went their way. The mother went off to fight fires and the father rode off on his unicycle to be a clown, but their daughter didn’t know what her story was, so she went to the next page to find it. On her search she encountered all sorts of characters and genres, from fairytale characters to pirates, from hist...more
Emily H.
Type: Picture story book (fantasy)
Audience: grades 2-4

Metafiction is very popular lately. This could be because of the success of David Macaulay's postmodern picture books. Or perhaps it's because all our interactions are becoming meta-interactions and therefore we can easily relate. Think: reality television shows where people know their "lives" are being watched. (Of course the lives are changed because they are being watched and therefore it can't truly be a person's life but is instead a dra...more
Marcia
A girl from an interesting family goes in search of her story. She lives in a book after all, she needs a story! She sorts through different genres, but none feel quite right. This book has a neat point of view, and was enjoyed by second grade. The story is mainly told in speech bubbles, which does make it a little tough for read aloud, but fun overall.
L11_Nick Mamula
Gerstein did an excellent job of submerging the reader into different literary worlds. As the audience travels between pages, Gerstein makes sure the readers understand that it is "A Book" that is being read. This is a wonderful tale of self-discovery and the subtle message that stories are important. This book will reach not only those that read little, but also those that have read a great deal. I can appreciate Gerstein's attempt to literally bring the audience into the book. Read "A Book" an...more
Brienz Wilkening
This was a very cute story. It took a different form than anything I had read before. It is about a little girl that goes through the whole book trying to find "her story" and come upon many things that are just not her. The whole time the reader is looking down on the girl and everything that is happening to her from up above. Very interesting and nicely done.
Robin
How did I miss this one? Anyway, it's perfect for me. The family is in a book and each member has their own story, including the dog, cat and the fish. The girl isn't sure of her story though, and spends most of the book looking for it. She tries fairy tales, where she's invited to try on a glass slipper, kiss a frog, and race the wolf to grandma's house. A detective helps her seek out a mystery, she visits her brother, an astronaut, in science fiction, and she decides historical fiction is simp...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Not for the littlest ones, as it's quite busy and complex. Best shared with a family; a reader can get more details out of it each time as s/he grows up and re-reads it. A bit like The Pagemaster as it's meant to encourage children to read more widely, and, if they can't find stories they like well enough, to write. I thought it was cute, though if we had 1/2 stars I'd give it 3.5.

Here's a challenge for an avid reader - Find all the books, stories to which this refers. How many can you come up...more
IrenesChristianReviews
This is the story of a girl in a book who does not know what her story is. Her father is in the book to show how a clown lives. Her mother says her book is about being a woman fire fighter. Even her brother has his own story line, which is about growing up to be a astronaut. She goes in search of her story. In her search she talks to the reader and walks through pages of famous stories like Alice in Wonderland and a Pirate story. In the end she writes her own story to live in.

I really enjoyed th...more
Becky
Clever book!! Like Sarah said, "This book is very meta."

"When the book was closed, it was night in the book, and the family slept." If you've ever thought characters come to life by being read, this is a picture book for you! The whole book is illustrated as if the reader is peering down at dolls in a dollhouse, and the characters even break the fourth wall and look up to address you! The little girl is in search of her story, and journeys through several genres to find it.

Would be interesting...more
Drew
•Brief summary
This book is about a child in search of her story. She doesn't know what her story is and doesn't know where to start. After trying everyone else story she comes up with an great idea. She is going to write her own story, and become a author

•Audience
Kindergarten or 1st

•Appeal
It has a bunch going one like a clown, firefighters, astronaut etc. children will love the random craziness of this book. It s pretty funny also.

•Implementation
I would use this book to prompt a writing activit...more
Nicole Massa
This story follows a young girl who lives in a book with her family. They all have stories that go and take part in everyday, but she is not sure what story she wants to be a part of so she goes and explores different stories to see which one fits her best. This book is fun for students as they go on the journey with this young girl. It is also a great way to encourage students to find what best suits them and pursue that.
Catherine
This picturebooks is vastly different from any other book I have read before. It contains many different perspectives from the characters, and they realize they are in the book and that a reader is watching and reading their story. The girl is looking for her story, and finds out that she is not quite sure what her story is. I think this book would be great for teaching multiple perspectives, settings, and characters. It wouldn't necessarily be a good read-aloud, but you could select a portion t...more
Cierra Edwards
A book is told from the perspective of the people within the book. They wake up when the book is opened and the light is down upon them and when they are ready to go to bed, they ask you to shut the book so it is dark for them. The family within this book are composed of all different types of characters who all have specific types of stories they belong to. The little girl, however, does not know her story. She spends the rest of her time exploring different genres of books to see where she bel...more
Diane
Great read aloud for introducing genre and discussing perspective. It begs the student to "write their own story" to find out who they are.
Andi Ricche
What an awesome book! To say anything about it would give away the story. Must read for little kids (girls) in want of a story.
Amanda
This was one of the most interesting picture books because of its perspective. The whole story is written and illustrated assuming that the characters know that they realize they are part of a book being read. My son seemed confused when the goose said "Look up" to show the girl the readers looking down on her, but it is kind of a stretch for a preschooler I suppose. The art is fascinating and I think very well done. It would be even better for older children, grade schoolers especially who do s...more
Ashlyn Kesler
Twist on previously known tales, which helps kids pull from past knowledge. Writing practices.
Jillian Heise
An entertaining "meta" story about a girl whose family lives in a book and is searching for her own story. Would pair well with We are in a Book! and has allusions to many fairy tales and genre tropes.
Agnes
" One morning the girl asked about something that had been troubling her. 'I know we live in a book, but what is our story?' "

This picture book puts the whole idea of picture books and storytelling on its head: first by having the characters on the pages looking up at the reader, second by taking the protagonist on a journey to define her story through exploring different genres.

This picture book might be interesting to inquisitive kids who are bored with traditional forms. It might also be goo...more
Angie
I was going back and forth between three and four. Finally had to go with four because even though the circus clown is kind of freaky this really is a fun book with teaching possibilities.

It's a book all about a little girl who is ... well ... IN A BOOK. And throughout the story you see her trying to figure out what kind of story she wants.

My favorite page? When the little girl asks "What are ... readers?" and the goose says "Look up."

Teachers could definitely use this book, either as an introdu...more
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A Book 1 5 Jan 26, 2010 03:20PM  
A Book 1 5 Jan 26, 2010 03:20PM  
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Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, winner of the Caldecott Medal, and has had four books named New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Gerstein was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He remembers being inspired as a child by images of fine art, which his mother cut out of Life magazine, and by children’s books from the library: “I looked...more
More about Mordicai Gerstein...
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers The Old Country The First Drawing The Mountains of Tibet How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers: A Simple but Brilliant Plan in 24 Easy Steps

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