Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Book” as Want to Read:
A Book
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Book

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  493 Ratings  ·  150 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
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Roaring Brook Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Book, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Book

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A book about people living in a book. Where one of the characters, (a little girl) tries to figure out what sort of story she's living in.

For my part, I have to say that I found it delightfully meta. But that's the sort of person I am.

As a kids book though, I have to say, this is full of stuff that most kids aren't going to be able to understand and/or appreciate.

But my oldest boy (age 5) likes it well enough. And asks for it to be read and re-read to him. So there's plenty there for kids, to
Lisa Vegan
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
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
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
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a super cute story about a family who live in a book and each member of the family (even the pets) has their own story. All except for the little girl who tries her best to find her own story as she wanders through the stories of the other members of her family. It's probably something that would appeal more to older kids as you'd need to understand the references to fairy tales, mysteries and other types of books but I thought it was very sweet.
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!
Jul 24, 2009 rated it liked it
A nice book to read one-on-one with someone over 5. I don't think the under-5 crowd would get it.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't care for this one. It is natural to compare it to Willems's We Are in a Book, another story where the characters are aware they are in a book and try to interact with the reader, as well as to, to a lesser extent, Donaldsen's Charlie Cook's Favorite Book, Klausmeier's Open This Little Book, and Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. A Book is my least favorite of all of these.

The story and the pictures are not that engaging, and I'm incapable of quieting that little part of me that wants to know the ru
Heather Gunnell
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Staff Pick

This cute story offers a peek into the lives of a family of book characters. Everyone in the family - the father, the mother, the boy, the dog, and the cat - has a story. The girl doesn't know what her story is. Read on to see what she figures out.
Amanda Walz
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is an interesting story about a little girl who lives in a book. She goes on an adventure to find her story and in turn discovers about fairy tales, mysteries, adventure stories, and more.
Heather Gunnell
Staff Pick

This cute story offers a peek into the lives of a family of book characters. Everyone in the family - the father, the mother, the boy, the dog, and the cat - has a story. The girl doesn't know what her story is. Read on to see what she figures out.
Kalee Stegehuis
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Emily H.
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roser_top-25
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
Dec 05, 2012 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
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
Amy Forrester
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Brittni Hover
This is a great science fiction fantasy book. A little girl is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to do. The family all lives in a book. The little girl is the only one who didn’t have a job or place she went to every day. The little girl sets out on an adventure trying to figure out who she is. This book fits into the science fiction category because it is all about fantasy, and things that could never happen. It does have real things in it, but much of what happens isn’t possib ...more
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
This was an interesting book. I actually like the mix of book text and dialogue; although it was hard to be a read aloud book because it was hard for my daughter to follow all the dialogue text.

The plot wasn't anything outstanding, but it had an interesting concept of a girl who lives in a book trying to figure out what her story was. Along the way, she finds all her other family members have these exciting stories and suggest maybe her's is like theirs. She and the reader is shown many differen
L11_Nick Mamula
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-20-picks
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
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
•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

Kindergarten or 1st

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.

I would use this book to prompt a writing activit
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
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
Cierra Edwards
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, top-20
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
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
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
Kelley Blakslee
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a fun take on a book within a book! This story is a blast to read--both illustrations and words have so much hidden, you could return to this one over and over and find something new each time. I like the take on point of view as well, when the characters in the story look up at the readers and one reminds the little girl, "You might want to be careful. [The reader] can read everything you say." In the end, the little girl decides to write her own story so not only is this a fun connection ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Book 1 5 Jan 26, 2010 03:20PM  
A Book 1 5 Jan 26, 2010 03:20PM  
  • Yucky Worms
  • The Little Red Fish
  • Read It, Don't Eat It!
  • Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated
  • Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog
  • Billy and Milly, Short and Silly!
  • Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly
  • The Best Book to Read
  • Birds
  • The Imaginary Garden
  • There's Nothing to Do on Mars
  • Ready for Anything!
  • Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
  • The Book That Eats People
  • The Dunderheads
  • Neville
  • Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears
  • Guess Again!
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...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »