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How This Book Was Made
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How This Book Was Made

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,215 ratings  ·  292 reviews
You may think you know how this book was made, but you don't. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How'd it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.

New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,215 ratings  ·  292 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
This was not my favorite Mac Barnett - Adam Rex book. Theyre both brilliant and Ive loved many of their books.

This one for me was a combination of interesting and plodding. Its a combination of non-fiction and fiction, mostly the latter.

The best part was the reader participation aspect that comes at the end.

It could also be interesting to budding writers, illustrators, and publishers.

I did find it humorous, I think more amusing than Id have found it when I was the target age for this book, if
Colby Sharp
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I sat in my classroom after school today and read this book. It was magical. I've never laughed so hard while reading a picture book. This book gets all the stars and a hug.

So funny.
Hilarious book with a powerful message--books are incomplete without readers!
David Schaafsma
I may not be as flexible as I think. I have really been a fan of the Mac Barnett-Jon Klaasen creations such at Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Subtle stuff, spare, elegant artwork. So when I saw this was Barnett's, I thought I'd check it out. It has this meta-fictional aspect that I like, too. Reminded me--in the title--of some of Jon Scieszka's work such as The Real Story of Big Bad Wolf or things like There is a Monster at the End of This Book. Calls attention to the construction of ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
How This Book Was Made is creative, laugh-out-loud funny, meta AND have a neat message: "book still isn't a book, not really, until it has a reader."
Simply excellent!
And the wacky, amusingly literal, often ironic mixed-media illustrations fit the story perfectly:

If I still didn't convince you to give this book a try, check out this book trailer.
Marta-Kate Jackson
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, humor
If you are an elementary or middle grade teacher, you MUST read this book to your class. Even better if you are teaching a unit on writing or the book making process, but that's not a requirement. This book came a very long way and survived numerous hardships to get into your hands and the hands of your students. Just read it. If you don't, you may face a tiger and his posse. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I have read this book aloud with 1st grade and 4th grade classrooms and it is a huge hit
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book takes the reader through the process of how this book was made. It is complete with tigers and pirates. The book is not a book until it is opened up and read, till then it is just words and pictures.

Colorful pictures help point out the process of creating a book. This mixed median of fiction and nonfiction will entertain as well as educate the reader. I would recommend this book for elementary to possible middle school students to learn how books are made.
Stipulated, I only read this quickly and perhaps I would have liked it better if I had spent more time on it. However, I didn't like it. I found some of it confusing, such as the picture that accompanied the author's comments about how the editor and he went back and forth over some of the wording. I couldn't help wondering if during this section didn't get finished by a now well known author going over the editor's head to that person's boss. Or perhaps that was an inside joke? While some of it ...more
This is an awesome picture book for readers who have ever wondered just how an idea for a story becomes an actual book. Using humorous, kid-friendly language and fantastic artwork, the authors take us step-by-step through the publishing process. This could definitely serve as a good mentor text for budding writers; it also could be good inspiration for those who dream of someday writing and publishing their own books.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I was really looking forward to this one because I Rex and Barnett make a great team. But it seemed to meander a bit too much, which was ironic because the book itself claims to be the result of several drafts. There was plenty of funny and great illustrations, but seems to exist for itself mostly. I'm sure many will disagree with me, and I'm open to changing my mind, but it didn't blow me away.
A wacky picture book that rambles through the step-by-step process of creating a book. The approach is silly, but overall it makes an otherwise dry explanation fun. Observant readers will especially appreciate the visual humor.
Susan Heskin
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this to 2nd graders. They liked learning the book production process and that THEY, as the readers, are part of that story. But they really liked telling me afterward what they thought was "real" and what was "made up" in the story!
Kayla Leitschuh
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome and humorous picture book detailing the process of getting a book made.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
First sentence: At first this book wasn't a book. It was an idea. Ideas can come at funny times. When I had the idea for this book, I went to a quiet place and I wrote. I wrote from early in the morning until late at night. It was very hard work. Soon I had a bunch of words on paper. Those words were a first draft. The first draft of this book was not so good. Neither was the second draft. Or the third. Or the twelfth.

Premise/plot: Love to write? Love to draw? Want to write your own books
Amy Lafleur Meyers
With their signature humor and hilarious illustrations, Mac Barnett and Adam Rex are back with a book about how books are made! Barnett and Rex tell readers how they made this book from its beginning as an idea in Barnett's head and went through the whole writing, publishing, and printing process to get into readers' hands. I love how Barnett infused this book with plenty of humor from how he was growing a beard and getting older while making the book and all of the dramatic twists and turns ...more
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is just what you'd expect from this duo, funny and also truthful with a splash of absurdity thrown in. The author talks about how the book comes into being from the first inspiration (while arm wrestling a tiger) to the many drafts and back and forths with the lunch minded editor and the L_ON_N_G role of the illustrator to the printing, distribution and then READING of the book. It is a conversation with the reader and a lovely recognition of his/her importance. Funny but truthful with ...more
I was lucky enough to hear Mac read this book himself and hear Adam (the illustrator) explain how he creating the pictures. It was so much more interesting than what I thought this book would be. I may be biased, but getting to hear it read aloud and having the author reading it how he would expect it to be read, putting emphasis where he imagined it while writing it, was very special for me, instead of having other people's impression of the book when they read it aloud (which is still ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
Of course I got the humor and followed the course of events, but I'm sure any "sensical" elements were lost on my pre-school age grand children. My two-year-old wanted the story to be about the tiger (most likely because it brings to mind Tigger). I found the overuse of hyperbole to be tiring. I guess I just thought the whole thing to be ridiculous in the extreme. I'm not even sure that K-3 kids could sort anything out of this. I think the target audience can't be any younger than 4th grade.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How does a book get made? Mac Barnett answers this question in an amusing and accurate way. I would say that this book is an amusing 4 right up until the final page. There Barnett reveals that a book isn't made until it has you -- the reader. I love the way he brought the reader into the story and reminded us that books are for those that enjoy them. This is a lovely reminder of how much I also love Mo Willems' We are in a Book!.
This book is adorable. I love the meta-narrative and the illustrations are amazing. I love Mac Barnett already, and after I realized that Adam Rex did the Chu books with Neil Gaiman (Chu's Day) and Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem (also writter by Mac Barnett), it turned out that I already like him too. Very cute.
Jill Pickle
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was created in a lab just for me, I think.

My favorite character, of course, is the editor who eats fancy lunches in a skyscraper and says, (paraphrasing because I'm already passing this F&G around to my colleagues at my publishing house) "I love your words. They are perfect. Now here are all the things I want you to change about them."

I feel like Mac Barnett is simultaneously working out his love and frustration for the publishing process, while throwing in silly fun things for
Classic humor from the team of Barnett and Rex. I like when they think outside the box. This was a clever way to explain some of the process of a book being made--with silliness thrown in, of course. And the ending was excellent. Possibly too many words for a preschool storytime, but perhaps in a school visit.

3/10/18 SD picked this for a bedtime read. She smiled at the silly parts. And it held her attention. She said she liked it afterwards.
A humorous look at how a book is created...with both reality and fantasy in equal parts. I really like that it points out that it takes many, many drafts before the story is complete...and that it isn't really complete until it is read! Cute and clever and worth sharing with students. My 8 year old daughter really loved it!
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I loved the mixture of facts about the writing and publishing process and elements of total whimsy (tigers! pirates!). Barnett seems to delight in doing the unexpected, which means I am usually surprised and delighted myself when I read his books. This one was no exception, and I especially loved the ending, when we find out the one last thing that was needed to make this book--the reader!
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I thought I might have had enough of meta-fiction and self-referential art about "how a book gets made," but this book is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud right in the middle of the library.

I'd love to read it out loud to kids and adults alike -- although the art is so well tied in to the narration that you would not want your audience to miss it!

A lot of fun.
A.E. Fuhrman
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! As an author I particularly enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor regarding the whole publishing process. And what a fun way for children to learn about the industry. I highly recommend.
Thing Two
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2016
This book is adorable!!! It takes the reader on a journey of how a book comes to lifefrom the first idea to the first set of eyes to read it. Fabulous! Funny! Sweet! Perfect for the early elementary reader or budding storybook writer. Fourteen thumbs up!!!! ...more
Adrienne Pettinelli
Oh my gosh, the pages that deal with the editing process made me laugh SO HARD, and Rex's illustrations fill me with joy--so much to look at with interesting materials and perspectives and visual jokes.
Mrs. Krajewski
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My kids and I laughed out loud with this one. We loved it!
Feels like a sequel to Chloe and the Lion. There's some interesting stuff here for kids about the process of writing a book, but I didn't love it quite as much as I wanted to.
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac Barnett now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.

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