Jessie Bear's Reviews > It's a Book

It's a Book by Lane Smith
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A donkey asks a monkey certain questions about the item in his hands, only to be answered with “it’s a book.” In an age of increasing emphasis on the digital, this book reads as a crisp response, appreciating the simple analogue pleasures presented by a written work. While the intention to defend the codex is laudable, its presentation here may not be entirely suitable to every young audience, which calls into question for whom was this book written? The text is littered with terms and concepts not suited toward a young audience such as text (as in texting), blog, wi-fi, and tweet. While this could prompt valuable discussion about how technology works, some of it may simply be stated more for the reading adult than the listening child. The simple cartoons express the growing frustration on the part of the monkey who cannot make the donkey understand the properties a book would not have. The insertion of the book within this book breaks up the story line nicely, and the more complex illustration is pleasing, perhaps more so than the monkey’s frowning face. Smith creates his illustrations using ink, oil pants on a hot press illustration board, acrylic spray, and Photoshop. “Jackass” is the book’s last word, which some families and communities might not be comfortable with. To the book’s credit, “jackass” is also on the title page for a discerning parent, teacher or librarian to immediately spot. However, the title page “jackass” is written in the context of “it’s a jackass” or “it’s a monkey,” while the ending delivery of the same word reads more hostile than humorous. This book is recommended with some reservations, and may not to be suitable to all children aged 5-8.

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