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It's a Book

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,566 ratings  ·  1,324 reviews
Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, IT'S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.
Hardcover, First Edition, 32 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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yeah, i said it, what??

this is a wonderful book, perfect for those of us who are confounded by the rise of the e-readers. did no one ever see maximum overdrive??

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seriously, a book will never turn on you the way a machine will.

tom fuller read this book aloud to me the other day at work. he and i are on the same page as far as technology, and it was nice to have storytime again, and even nicer to have the theme of storytime be that the simplicity of a book, although it cannot tweet
Dear Amazon Kindle,

Do you know what else is portable? Do you know what else allows me to read anywhere at any given time? Do you know what else I can read on a beach or in any light? Do you know what else has crisp black and white contrast for easy reading? Do you know what else I can fit in my purse? Do you? Do you?

A book.

I'm not a technology curmudgeon (although my use of the word "curmudgeon" alone probably indicates that I'm well on my doddering way into geriatric-ville). There have been man
Where to begin? Begin at the beguine, I suppose. I’ve had It’s a Book sitting on my shelf for months and now the time is ripe. As you may have heard one place or another, it contains an off-color word at the end (“jackass”, belated spoiler alert) and it makes fun of folks who prefer online zips and whizbangs to good old-fashioned paper books. So what are we to make of it? Well, I hate to lob this designation on any author or illustrator I like, but this is so clearly a picture book for grown-ups ...more

Not a laptop, not a blog, just a book.”

After hearing so many awesome reviews about this book and after reading so many children’s books illustrated by Lane Smith, I just had to check out this book, “It’s a Book” and man, was it one children’s book that I thoroughly enjoyed!

The book starts off with a monkey reading a book when suddenly; a donkey comes by and asks the monkey what he has in his hands. The monkey tells the donkey that he is reading a book. But the donkey mistakes the book for a c
Brendon Schrodinger
My best friends Wayne and Jess gave me this for my birthday last year. They said they saw it and automatically thought of me. I guess not because I represent one of the characters in the book (at least I think I don't), but because I have debated the use of ebooks with them.

This is a wonderfully funny children's book that's probably more for adults. The premise is simple, the monkey is reading a book and the donkey is so Gen Y and has never seen a book. He asks silly questions like "Where does
Eva Leger
Okay, okay, I have to stop laughing. Holy cow. These are readers leaving these reviews on here! Upset about the word "jackass". (Okay, I'm fighting the urge here to piss people off even more so please, know that I may not be able to keep fighting it and read at your own risk.)
Okay, guys and gals. IT'S A WORD. Much like all the other words out there in our wonderful, word filled world.
Funny little story here - there's a woman on facebook that hates me because of my "foul mouth". What's even mor
Lisa Vegan
Oh dear; I feel sacrilegious.

Well, I thought I’d love this, but it was just okay. Books! Books and animals!; this book should be exactly my cup of tea. Much to my surprise, I was disappointed in this book.

But, while I liked that the allure of books is shown and the last line is mildly amusing and books compared with computers is an interesting concept, most of this book was sort of blah for me.

I wasn’t enamored of the pictures and there is not much of a story, rather just a monkey telling a jack
Smith's newest is witty and sly, with a double entendre at the end that may cause some librarians to omit it from their collections. I, however, love this book. I have shared it with my middle schoolers, and they love it. I usually introduce it with a reminder that word meanings sometimes change over time (an idea we cover in several different units each year), ask for some examples from students, and immediately read the title page where the animals are named: "It's a mouse. It's a jackass. It' ...more
This is for librarians who hate computers, not for kids. Sure I hate facebook and I like swearing jokes, but I am not sure I like swearing jokes in the library where the parents are, this thing is doing nothing but sitting on the shelf making me paranoid ever since it came.
I’m not going to lie, guys… I think I like the online trailer for this better than the actual book itself.

I mean, the illustrations are amazing (no, really, I’m kind of in love with them) and the concept is hysterical, but it doesn’t read like a children’s book.

As a book aimed at full-grown adults already longing for the nostalgia of the printed word on a paper page, who dread the Death Of The Physical Book and who are a eensy weensy bit nervous around ereaders, it works REALLY SUPER AMAZINGLY W
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Excellent message about how great reading is with no bells and whistles needed. But instead of being preachy, it's a funny tale of a donkey irritating a monkey who's trying to read. The illustrations are simple and cute. (I think simple can be fabulous such as in Press Here by Herve Tullet. I'd insert a link but my phone app doesn't support that feature.)

The only thing I didn't really like is that at one point the monkey calls the donkey a jackass. While it fits, it's also a "potty word" for mos
This is signature Lane Smith in every possible way. A donkey and a gorilla sit in a living room together. The donkey has a laptop, the gorilla has a book. The donkey is puzzled by this book. How do you scroll? Does it blog? Where is the mouse? The gorilla answers again and again, “No, it’s a book.” Finally, the donkey gets the book in his hands and refuses to give it back. The gorilla stands up to leave, heading for the library when the donkey offers to charge it when he’s done. All leading up t ...more
Jul 21, 2010 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2010, childrens, humor, library
This book is similar to the Elephant and Piggie series of books by Mo Willems, only much snarkier and will appeal to an older audience. The conversation between the Monkey and Jackass (I did explain that jackass meant the same as donkey to our girls) is simple, hilarious, and very appropriate in today's high-tech, gizmo-oriented society. I loved it and, really, so did our girls, even if they didn't get all of the tech references (at least not yet!) I read it again, I liked it so much!

Update: We
A lovely little picture book for children and adults alike. It's cute and fun, with adorable illustrations. I'd highly recommend it to book lovers, especially those concerned with the ongoing digital vs. printed books debate. (Personally I love both traditional formats and technology. I think it's a shame that some people shame on the latter, but I do lean more towards printed books myself.)
"...E' anche un LIBRO che prende in giro i maniaci del computer. Potete regalare una copia di questo LIBRO ai fanatici dell'iPad e degli e-book, a tutti gli scettici convinti che il LIBRO non sopravviverà al XXI secolo. Ma regalatelo soprattutto ai bambini, perché provino l'emozione che nasce dal tenere in mano un vero LIBRO."

Uno dei migliori libri per l'infanzia.

...e per i più piccini, in cartonato e formato ridotto, consiglio
E' un piccolo libro: stupendo!
Emma (Miss Print)
Is it wrong that I liked the book trailer for It's a Book (2010) by Lane Smith more than I enjoyed the actual book? If it is, I don't want to be right.

What happens when a monkey* sits down with his copy of Treasure Island and a donkey** sits down with his laptop? Well, let's just say the book might not do as much, but it sure has a lot of staying power.

It's a Book has a great message. In snappy text and fun illustrations, it shows all the fun a book can be. And yet . . .

There is something very m
The Library Lady
I have no personal problem with the word "jackass", but why here? Is it for shock value for the "clean book" crowd?

No matter his reasons, in doing so Lane Smith has doomed this book. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because the whole concept here is aimed far more at tweens than tiny tots anyway. Unfortunately most tweens don't head for the picture book section because they are too busy reading crap so bad it shouldn't be called a book stuff like "Twilight" anyway,the tiny tots' mommies w
If you remember a time without computers or the internet, you will laugh all the more at this little bit of fun. Although it is a picture book, the humor will be lost on very young children. Maybe this is a picture book for adults? The amusing exchange that carries the book involves the monkey attempting to explain to the jackass that his book does not require scrolling down, blogging, a mouse, and that there is no limit on the number of characters that may be used to tell the tale. I won't give ...more
My sentiments on this book mirrors that of of fellow reviewer Alyson: "It's a Book" is one of the funniest stories I've read this summer. As a passionate defender of books made from trees, I appreciated the wry and sly humor, pitting the complete sentences on paper versus abbreviated muck via technology. But... who exactly was this book aimed at? It most certainly wasn't kids, which is fine because I'm not entirely comfortable with younger students parroting the word "jack-a**" for days on end. ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
This is the funniest picture book I have read in a long time. However, not sure who the audience really is. I can see giving it to adults but not sure I can comfortably read it to children at school. The use of the word "jack-ass" is used several times in the book. It is appropriately used but not sure I want 5 year olds using it.

Concept of the book in a character is very technology savvy and the other is very much into real books. The techno-savvy character doesn't seem to be ca
I came across this in the children's section of a library, go figure. Cute enough cover so I gave it a read through. There is alternating dialogue between two animals which is highlighted in two different colors. The apparent conversation seems to stem around one character trying to fit the book into computer technology like "tweets" and "blogs" versus the the other repeatedly stating that "it's a book." Interesting thought but seems more geared toward adults then kids.
A salient reminder for digital natives that a low-tech paper and print object can absorb the mind in a way that multi-media hardware perhaps cannot. Preaching to the choir here, but it's fun, and it brings into sharp, sharp focus the changeover in culture that we are experiencing right now. Not that I'm too worried about the death of the book myself. What would you put on all those empty Billy units if you had the whole of your library on a Kindle?
This picture book made me laugh out loud. I have been hearing about it for a while and am glad that I finally read it.

However, just like many of my friends here on Goodreads, I am not sure the audience and I actually chose to put it as teens. And it isn't because the donkey is called a jackass, it is because the humor might go over the head of a younger child and explaining the humor would just take away from it.
Best timely kids book EVER. And folks, a jackass is an animal. It's in the dictionary. If you're afraid to read that word to your kids, you're going to have a hell of a time in a few years. Of course it's intentional, and best to have that conversation sooner than later.
Nancy (NE)
OMG - I'm still laughing. A conversation between a monkey and a donkey - who's confused about print versus technology. It ends in "It's a book... jackass." So hmm - maybe not for kids. Somewhere in the realm with "Go The F--K to Sleep"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

"It's a Book!" by Lane Smith
"Its a Book!" - whilst I am definitely in favour of innovation and new technology, there is nothing like a book! This little gem beautifully and humorously puts books and new tech in perspective! Highly recommended! :)

Monkey is absorbed, reading a book. Jackass is busy, playing on his laptop. Jackass gets curious. What is it about this very static, boring looking assemblage of cardboard and paper that has Monkey's attention so c
Dianne Casas
I absolutely LOVE this book despite its controversial content. When it first came out, I emailed Lane and told him that it would be a big hit (it is) and that it would be a banned book (it is). The main characters are a tech-savvy donkey and a book-loving ape. The donkey is baffled by the ape’s object (the book) and asks, “Does it tweet? Does it text? Does it wifi?” The ape always answers, “No, it’s a book.” Then the donkey grabs and the book and begins reading. He spends hours reading the book. ...more
This cleverly sarcastic tribute to books in their print form makes me smile every time I read it. As we become ever-more dependent on Kindles, Nooks, and other forms of reading, it sometimes seems as though those among us who cling to books in their paper and ink form are becoming obsolete. After all, books in print don't do all those flashy things they can in digital formats. I can see in the future some of us telling the next generation and the next about the wonders of getting lost in print a ...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
The ultimate battle between entertainment devices: old versus new, low-tech versus high tech; pitching friends - a donkey and a monkey - against each other.

Cue "Eye of the Tiger". *bobs head back and forth*

These days we're more likely to pick up a shiny and versatile iPad before we'd even look at the one-trick pony of a book, dismissing their simplicity by thinking it's synonymous with boring. Far from it! The simple things in life can be the most enjoyable.

I can imagine children having this exa
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Love this picture book/ So True! 5 26 Jan 30, 2015 04:16PM  
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Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but moved to Corona, California at a young age. He spent summers in Tulsa, however, and cites experiences there as inspirations for his work, saying that "[o]nce you've seen a 100-foot cement buffalo on top of a donut-stand (sic) in the middle of nowhere, you're never the same."

He studied art in college at the encouragement of his high school art teacher, helping
More about Lane Smith...
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“It's a book, jackass.” 31 likes
“How do you scroll down?"
"I don't, I turn the page. It's a book."
"Do you blog with it?"
"No, it's a book.”
More quotes…