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It's a Book

It's a Book

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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.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2010

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About the author

Lane Smith

118 books321 followers
Lane 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 to pay for it by working as a janitor at Disneyland. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, and moved to New York City, where he was hired to do illustrations for various publications including Time, Mother Jones, and Ms..

Smith is married to Molly Leach, who is a book designer and designed the Smith/Scieszka collaboration.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,771 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
March 30, 2020

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??

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 or blog or scroll or text or need to be charged - will captivate you and win you over even if you are a jackass*

this book comes up as "humor" rather than "juv" in the olde b/n system, probably because of *, or maybe because children aren't as likely to see the humor in the book/machine debate because they practically come out of computer-wombs these days.

but i think this book is a must-read, and i love the illustrations, and if i had the money, i would give a copy of this book to everyone in the library science program at my school, even if they were people who annoyed me in previous classes. it would be the least i could do.

but i am broke - buy your own copies.

there is also a shout-out to libraries, which is awesome, because i think once you get out of the nice suburbs and small towns, people forget about libraries. every time i suggest the library to a customer who is looking for an out of print book or information that i have no access to at the bookstore, they always look at me like it is a revelation. "a library??? you mean, like from the past?? they are still making those??"

yes, they are, and you should use them. and read proper, three-dimensional books. you are not a cylon.

*i love love love that people have their tightass panties in a twist over the word jackass used in this book.people on this site. educators. wow. not only is it an animal, it is the name of a television show that kids love because it is so stupid. one that has been advertised on billboards around the world. if you go to a decent zoo, in the petting zoo part, they are likely to have a jackass. there is no reason to fear that children are going to go around saying "this word" unless the attitude of the person reading it suggests that it is somehow taboo. they are just as likely to go around calling each other "monkey" or "mouse". these are the kinds of people i was talking about recently in this review. and i know i don't have children, nor do i earn my living from their care and maintenance, so i have no business telling other people how to handle their shit, but seriously - wow. there are worse things in the world to lose sleep over, yeah?

please don't tell them about the titmouse.

or the booby.

or dick butkus.

please shield the children from.... words!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews315 followers
October 14, 2013
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 many technological advances of which I'm quite fond--just try and pry my iPod out of my cold dead hand. However, when it comes to technology, I see two categories: 1) technology that saves time and adds to the quality of my life and 2) status technology. For the most part, I think e-readers and their ilk fall into status technology. It screams "hey, look at me and my nifty gadget." Sure you can download several books within seconds, but going to a bookstore and browsing through the selections with a cuppa joe in my hand is one of my favorite things. I like walking around, basket on my arm, adding to it any item that catches my fancy. I like agonizing over which of my carefully selected books will be going home with me as I weigh my wants against what my meager bank account will allow me to have. I love the feel of books, the smell of books, the covers of books. I love turning pages. I love seeing what others are reading.

And that's why I love It's a Book. In a world of techno-abundance, it reminds the jackasses of the world that the book is already perfection.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder and at Shelf Inflicted
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,750 followers
November 24, 2010
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 that it squeaks. While kids today slip from electronic readers to paper books and back again like svelte otters, it is the grown-ups around them that are heard cooing and purring every time a shiny new electronic toy hits the market. For those who love the printed page, such enthusiasm can be scary. Kids don’t fear for the so-called “death of the book” but some of their caregivers certainly do, and so for them Lane Smith has penned an exchange between a pixel-happy donkey and the monkey (slash ape) who just wants to read his book in peace.

Hedging his bets right from the start, Smith begins by pulling his punch as far back as it can reasonably go. Turn to the title page and you read, “It’s a mouse. It’s a jackass. It’s a monkey.” Ignoring the fact that the monkey is actually an ape (though he may be hiding his tail beneath his, uh, muumuu?), the story begins with the donkey asking the primate what he’s got there. “It’s a book.” Not understanding the donkey tries to figure out the use of such an object. “Can it text?” “No.” “Tweet?” “No.” “Wi-Fi?” “No.” Eventually the donkey gets to see what a book really can do and when his companion asks if he can have his book back he gets a pretty straightforward, “No,” echoing his own earlier dismissals. The donkey, to his credit, offers to charge the book up when he’s done, but the mouse perched on the top of the monkey’s (slash ape’s) head clarifies everything, “You don’t have to . . .” Turn the page. “It’s a book, jackass.”

In the past, Smith was king at walking the fine line between adult humor and children’s humor. Books like The Happy Hockey Family remain spot on. Kids find them funny just on a basic humor level and adults love the sly jabs at easy reading books of yore. This balance was once a Smith trademark, but lately he’s been falling too far on the adult side of the equation. When I mention The Big Elephant in the Room to other children’s librarians I often meet with blank stares. Though it came out just a year before It’s a Book, this title was a pretty strange concoction. In it a donkey (a jackass?) asks another about “the elephant in the room”. His companion then launches into a series of unspoken topics that might be that elephant until, at the end, we see an actual elephant sitting in the room. After trying to figure out if there was a political point to the story (donkeys and elephants rarely co-mingle for any other reason) it occurred to me that the book made no sense. Of course the first thing a child reader is going to assume when they hear the term “elephant in the room” is that there’s an actual elephant there. Only adults would go along with the donkey’s string of interpersonal mishaps. If The Big Elephant in the Room missed its mark, It’s a Book missed the same mark, but managed to hit a much larger target: an adult readership.

It’s telling that reviews on sites like Amazon display less a sense of moral outrage against the use of the “jackass” but rather a quiet bewilderment about the book’s audience. The outraged folks are there, of course, but folks that simply want to know “why” outnumber them. Or maybe a more accurate word would be “who?” Who precisely is this a book for? The answer comes, horrifyingly enough, from Barnes and Noble. The bookstore behemoth has for years been able to command that authors and illustrators change aspects of their books (words, cover images, etc.) or else pay the ultimate price: No display space. Rumor has it (and I’m working purely off of what I’ve heard) that so incensed was B&N by Smith’s use of the term “jackass” that they insisted he change the word. Smith adamantly stood by his "jackass" and so when you walk into your local B&N (as of the writing of this review) you will find It’s a Book not in the children’s section at all, but in the adult humor section. The thing is, B&N inadvertently got it right. Not about the word, mind you, but about what exactly the real audience for this title is.

Now before I go any farther, I have indeed heard teachers of older children (4th & 5th graders, for example) say that kids get a kick out of this book. And while I am pleased the older children are okay with being read picture books, were they the perceived audience from the start of the book’s creation? Probably not. No 4th or 5th grader I know is going to confuse a book with a Kindle or nook. Smith’s sort of setting up a straw man here, but it’s not for the kids. It’s for the adults. The ones who worry somewhere in the back of their minds that books will someday be nothing more than pixels on a screen. The ones who see their children playing online, texting their friends, updating their Facebook statuses, and fear for the future of the printed page. For them It’s a Book is a rallying cry. It touches on everything they fear and then tells them exactly what they want to hear: That the people who live solely in the world of bits and bytes are truly jackasses at heart.

And what about that word anyway? Like pretty much every other reader I was surprised the first time I got to the end of the book. I’m not going to raise a fuss about the term per say. After all, Tinkerbell calls Peter “you silly ass” in Peter Pan while even the beloved James and the Giant Peach (which Smith once illustrated himself) knew when to brandish the term. But then, these books were chapter books. Would I, then, keep this book off my picture book shelves? Of course not! In a culture where we’ve movies named things like Kick-Ass in the theaters, the term is practically ubiquitous. My objection isn’t that he uses the word, but that he uses it poorly. Look, I’m a children’s librarian. Let’s say I read this book to a room full of second graders. We’re all having a good time, I’m doing cool sound effects, and then we get to the end. The mouse says, “It’s a book, jackass” and suddenly the entire tone of the storytime has changed. What was a fun informative book suddenly turns . . . well . . . nasty. Because what exactly is the mouse saying? That if you are ignorant of something, like books, and try to learn more then you’re a jackass? That anyone who comes to books late in life is a jackass? What exactly is the donkey’s crime here? What, for that matter, is the point of the final sentence?

The point is to shock and ultimately amuse adult readers, and in this Smith has succeeded beyond measure. It’s the final ZING for an audience that’s comfortable with the term but didn’t expect to see it in a children’s book. They gasp, then laugh at the fact that they laughed, then feel great affection for the story because (as I mentioned before) it taps into their own fears and reassures them. The only people left out of the equation are children, but that doesn’t matter. Small fry don’t earn money with which to buy too many books anyway. This begs the question about whether or not the fact that the intended audience is grown-up is even a problem. I don’t suppose so but I don’t like it when books masquerade as something they are not. If this is a book for big people then say it loud and clear. And if it is for little people, why did you make it so mature?

The kicker is that Smith’s art is superb here. Really quite lovely. Where in The Big Elephant in the Room he seemed to be sleepwalking through the pages, here his lines are crisp and clean and almost geometric. Look how beautifully the donkey’s ears curve from his head to their tips and back again. Check out the beauty of the straight-backed red chair he sits in. This is almost a Mondrian painting subdued into a natural palette and then transformed into a book for kids. I daresay Smith hasn’t done art this lovely in years. And look at his fonts! The donkey’s are that strange computerized font we just naturally associate with computers. The mouse and monkey (slash ape) speak with fonts that are far more . . . literary, shall we say? There was thought, clear thought, behind these choices.

I can’t help but be amused by the irony that a book that proclaims loud and long the great delights of the printed word verses the electronic one happens to have its own online book trailer (one that judiciously makes sure not to mention the naughty word at the end, by the way). In essence, the book has done precisely what it meant to. It has amused adults to no end. And while it will probably never be read to a class of first or second graders in a true storytime, it will live on in the bookshelves of college students across the country. While it does, I’ll hope for the return of Lane Smith to the world of children’s literature written for kids first and foremost. Writing for adults is all well and good, but anyone can do that. It takes a special knack to write a book that a kid really loves and enjoys. Fingers crossed that it happens for Mr. Smith again sometime real soon.
Profile Image for Danielle.
808 reviews402 followers
December 25, 2021
I assume this is on the “banned” list due to a characters name (Jackass). Silly humans. 😂🤣

Note: this book is listed as one of the most popular books to be banned, over the past decade, from both schools and private libraries. Support freedom of expression by reading and buying banned books! ❤️📚
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews322 followers
December 16, 2013

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 computer and keeps on asking the monkey throughout this story about whether or not the book can text, tweet, scroll or have wi-fi, while the monkey constantly tells the donkey that the book does not have all that.

Wow! Lane Smith has seriously made me realize just how important books are, especially in the technological age of our society! I loved the fact that this book was trying to make a statement on how today’s society is so reliant on technology, such as the use of laptops and social networks like Twitter and the fact that the donkey in this story does not know how books really work was so hilarious and charming to look at! Now, I will admit that I am one of those people who use technology to advance my lifestyle since I also enjoy blogging, tweeting and using wi-fi for my laptop whenever I can. But, I also enjoy a good book every once in awhile and this book really made me see the importance of enjoying a good book, even if you also love using technology to enhance your lifestyle. I loved the fact that the monkey was trying to tell the donkey that even though his book does not have all the entertaining advancements in a computer like social networks, the book can still be entertaining as long as there is a good story to be told. Lane Smith’s artwork is so cute and hilarious to look at, especially of the images of the donkey, the monkey and the mouse themselves! I loved the way that the donkey is drawn, as he has gray colored fur and wears a blue shirt and black pants which make him look so modern compared to the monkey. I also loved the fact that the monkey wears a white polka dotted green shirt and a small hat which makes him look laid-back and the fact that his head is so large really makes his design so hilarious to look at!


Even though the use of the word “jackass” is being used as a way to describe a donkey, some parents might be worried that this word would be offensive to read to their children. Now, personally I did not have a problem with the use of the word “jackass” since I knew that it was being used to describe a donkey and I personally thought that it was not use in an offensive way. But, with the way the “a” word is being thrown around nowadays, I can understand a parent’s concern about the use of the “a” word in a children’s book. Parents should explain to their children that the “a” word also means “donkey” and that in this case, it is not used as an offensive way to call people names.

Overall, “It’s a Book” is a truly brilliant book that really points out the comparisons between a computer and a book and how they would affect the person using them. I would highly recommend this book to children and parents who love reading books that show the importance of books in society as a whole! This book would be best suited for children ages six and up since the use of the word “jackass” might be controversial to some readers.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,293 reviews21.7k followers
February 27, 2019
This is very cute. I was in a meeting before with a friend about a never ending ethics application we are working on and she handed me this and told me to read it as it would cheer me up. It did.

I particularly like the mouse.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,761 reviews1,218 followers
January 28, 2011
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 jackass what a book isn’t and a bit about what a book is. I could think of much more interesting examples than the ones mentioned. Perhaps if more examples, and different examples, of real books had been given, books of interest to me, I’d have liked it more. The example that is used might help make this book appealing to boys who don’t like to read, some girls too. But I am skeptical that this book will motivate kids to pick up another book and read it. I know that this was supposed to be a humorous book, and maybe it was my mood, but at best I was only very mildly amused.

If I hadn’t had high expectations, I might have given this an extra star, but maybe not, because I don’t see myself deliberately picking up this book to read it to children.
Profile Image for B Schrodinger.
305 reviews659 followers
May 26, 2014
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 it plug in?" and "Can you make the characters fight?" All the while the monkey is very patient.

It's funny because it highlights the extremes of both arguments to the ebook/book debate. And I guess it was these extremes that I was debating when considering "switching to ebooks". But after I took the plunge I realised that you can have both. It's not like a religion where they ask for absolute fidelity. So I think this is why my friends gave it to me and it made them think of me. Sometimes we just need a funny little children's book to point out we're over-thinking things and to stop being a jackass.

Profile Image for Eva-Marie.
1,672 reviews128 followers
January 26, 2011
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 more damn funny is my mouth really isn't that bad. Hell, you should see some of the people I hear day to day. Anyhoo, if she found out I read this to my five year old daughter THREE TIMES in a row (because we both almost pissed ourselves laughing) she'd call child services. (Which would be okay because I'd invite them in.)
Anyhoo again, the book. It's a word people. To all the people who got their panties in a bunch because "it's a jackass, it's a donkey, it's a monkey, it's a ape, blah, blah, blah" have you ever read any other books, particularly kids books that contain a character not in the real world? Any Dr. Seuss books by chance? Any pink elephants hidden in any past stories? Did you get twisted over them? I think probably not. Why now? Oh, oh, oh! I know, I know! Because Smith used the world (gasp!) jackass!
Don't breed people, don't breed.
I'm going to throw this out there for all you uptight shits - my five year old almost peed in her pants she laughed so hard at the end of this book. And guess what? I'll take her laughter over the word jackass than your uptight direction any DAMN day! :-D
Lane Smith, good for you! I'm going to get each and every book you've written and I'm going to buy them just to support you. Good for you for not being like those... those.... eek, I've almost made it. Come on Eva, you can doooo itttttt.... those....... ah, fuck it.
Profile Image for AleJandra.
827 reviews413 followers
January 1, 2019
4 Just a book STARS

"It's a Book, Jackass."


Muy simple, pero divertidísimo, en especial para los niños lectores.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,592 reviews523 followers
February 27, 2017
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, ,the tiny tots' mommies will recoil at the "bad" word (which THEIR kids won't get)and the same crowd that reeled at the use of word "scrotum"(scrotum, scrotum, SCROTUM!) will not want this on school library shelves.

Happily, this book has got its own obsolescence built right in. As technology moves on,the current stuff mentioned here will doubtlessly become as dated as,for example, Henry Huggins' coonskin cap is for today's readers,and the book will end up in the discard bin. Other picture books that have more to say to kids of today and tomorrow WILL be there, I'm sure. You can have your Nook or your Kindle or your (feh)IPad, but picture books will remain if for none other than purely tactile reasons.

Meanwhile I've wasted taxpayer money (and I pay taxes in this town) on this piece of mishegosse. And a lot of book reviewers need to stop wasting time and print space in the trade publications and start telling us about stuff like this so we can place or not place book orders accordingly!
Profile Image for Celise.
497 reviews320 followers
August 25, 2015

Because it's a book!

Straight to the point, there is a Jackass and a monkey, one raised in our modern technological times with no concept of what a book is.

This is one of those hilarious children's books you pick up because you're waiting at the book store and are a little bit bored, when before you know it you've read the entire thing and are snorting to yourself like a lunatic. An overgrown one who clearly doesn't belong in the children's section but this is one of those ones that you're never too old to appreciate, and in fact it's probably funnier as an adult.

Profile Image for Anina.
314 reviews24 followers
September 28, 2010
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.
Profile Image for L. McCoy.
742 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2017
Well, this is a fun book with a theme everybody on Goodreads is a fan of... books!

What’s it about?
A giant monkey tries to explain books to a donkey.

The story is funny and is probably a good way to introduce kids to books especially in today’s technology filled world.
The art is kinda funny.
This entire book is very humorous. I especially love the pun at the end!

It gets repetitive. “Does it (blank)? No, it’s a book.” over and over again does get old.
There’s not much to the characters.
This book is very predictable.

This book is okay. I’m sure many will absolutely love it because of it’s themes: animals and books. This book is kinda amusing though there’s a lot of better books, including picture books but my dog seemed to enjoy it and it isn’t bad.

Profile Image for Sandra.
743 reviews
December 2, 2019
Que delícia de livro!

Gostas de livros?
E de ler?
E de esfolhear livros novos?
E livros velhos, usados, em segunda mão?

Então pega nesta preciosidade pequenina e lê-o enquanto bebes um café, um chá, um chocolate quente, uma cerveja,...

O que quiseres.

Mas lê-o.

Independentemente da idade.

848 reviews25 followers
December 15, 2011
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's a monkey." They get the humor throughout the book and are mature enough to appreciate the double entendre without making a big deal of it when Monkey closes with, "It's a book, Jackass."

Love this book for what it is, or reject it on those grounds. If the word worries you, don't buy it! There are plenty of other books on the shelves. But whatever you do, please don't censure the author's intent and style by blacking out words. Censorship of this type gives some readers a sense of permission to censor other works they find inappropriate while it merely piques the interest and imagination of others.
Profile Image for Kelly H. (Maybedog).
2,493 reviews221 followers
June 5, 2012
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 most children. I don't think the pun was necessary and detracted from the story with a jarring thud.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews104 followers
September 17, 2010
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 to the final line: “You don’t have to… It’s a book, Jackass.” This is like a long lead up to a perfect punch line.

I shared this book with my sons, aged 9 and 13. They both adored it. They got the references to blogging, video games, charging and mice. By the final line, they both had huge grins on their faces and both looked rather slyly at me to see if I had realized what I had said. Then we all laughed and read it again.

Smith has created a book that will be enjoyed by adults and older children. Young children will not get the references to the technology and will not get the punch line. So let’s not waste time discussing whether that last line is appropriate for preschoolers or story times. The entire book is not for them.

Smith’s wonderful art is modern, sleek and yet has a timeless quality to it. It is ideal for this mashup of technology and books. The day I got it in the mail, I took it to one of our staff luncheons. It was read aloud, everyone loved it. I’m going to have it tucked with my things for the upcoming state library conference. They will all enjoy it. And I expect plenty of the same looks my sons gave me and plenty of laughter too.

A picture book for adults and older children, this is one to read aloud to librarians and teachers rather than the other way around.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews361 followers
September 26, 2017
It is Banned Books Week, and I am reading Challenged/Banned books. This is the third book for this week.

This book was banned in several libraries in the US due to the last page where the monkey calls the donkey a jackass. Yep, ladies and gentlemen, for that one word.

I just had to read this book, it was really just banned for one word? Plus I was also interested in the whole non-print vs print debate, I wondered how it would be done. Would our technical-savy donkey be interested in print? Would the monkey be able to convince the donkey of a book's true powers?

I was a bit amazed that the donkey never heard of a book. I mean, it is not like they are practically non-existent, books are everywhere. That he never even knew what a book could do. At times it was just a bit too ridiculous for me.

The donkey questions everything about the book. Does it have wi-fi? Does it need a password? Can it do x, y, or z? And every time the monkey replies with a No, it is a book. I loved that the monkey never gave up, though you could see his expression darken and he grew more and more annoyed with the donkey. (And you could also see him grip the couch's armrest very firmly.) I was kind of amazed at his patience, I am not sure if I would have such patience if someone acts this dumb. :P

The art was simple, but fun.

All in all, this was a fun little book. I hope that donkey will read more books and finds new worlds to explore.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Ariel.
585 reviews24 followers
December 8, 2017
I picked this up to add to by substitute teaching bag of tricks. I loved the concept, an ode to books. Different animals ask if the book can perform tech tricks like blogging, tweeting, and scrolling. Each question about what the object can do is met with the same reply, no it's a book. There is even a cute tribute to Treasure Island which after just having finished watching Black Sails, I absolutely loved. Everything is great until the last page when the donkey asks a question and is called a jackass in very small letters. This is why I will never read it out loud to a group of children. They will never allow me to explain that jackass has two meanings, one naughty and one factual. They will just seize on the naughty and all control will be lost from there. I love a humorous book and the book was 5 stars for me. However this is a children's book and while I would not hesitate to read it to my own child I do not feel comfortable reading it to other people's children in a school setting that takes a very dim view of children calling each other names. Hence my low rating.
Profile Image for Masoome.
412 reviews42 followers
March 17, 2020
یک کتاب عالی واسه آشنا کردن بچه‌ها با کتاب و تفاوتش با کامپیوتر و تبلت!
Profile Image for Mr Bramley.
292 reviews2 followers
October 1, 2019
I’m not sure if I’ve ever given a 1 star review before but I honestly despise this book.

I think it’s important to still review and discuss books I dislike so here goes:

The premise has potential... the idea is that the Jackass has become so used to technology and hasn’t encountered a book before. They are confused and at first suspicious, but eventually get enthralled by the story.

However, it is handled, in my opinion, particularly badly. Monkey does not encourage Jackass to read, they are rather cynical and rude. Jackass is also rather sarcastic in tone, and the story does not round itself off very well either.

I’m also pretty sick and tired of stories that push the idea that children are so consumed my technology that they have no idea about what books or reading is. Children are constantly engaged in reading and will always love the pull of a good story, illustrations and shared reading experiences. Technology, or how these are read, do not interfere with this, but can instead help.

Of course a good balance is important, but there is too much scaremongering around children’s ‘overuse’ of technology.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
July 21, 2010
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've borrowed this one a couple of times now and it's still as funny, sarcastic and witty as ever.
Profile Image for Hazal Çamur.
172 reviews202 followers
June 13, 2016
Bu nasıl güzel bir kitap! Uzun zamandır böyle tatlı bir çocuk kitabı okumadım. çizimleri ayrı güzel, taşıdığı misyon ayrı güzel ve bunu yapış tarzı apayrı başarılı.

İnternet çağının çocuklarına esprili bir biçimde kitabın ne olduğunu anlatan bu kitabı önce siz büyükler okuyun, eğlenin, sonra da ��evrenizdeki çocuklarla buluşturun. Çünkü bu bir kitap :)
1,037 reviews116 followers
December 5, 2018
This is a funny children’s book that depicts how children are so immersed in the world of technology that they don’t know what to do with a traditional book!
Profile Image for Emma.
2,893 reviews352 followers
March 2, 2018
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 meta about discussing the merits of a book in a book format. There is also the issue that anyone who really needs to know how great books are (or show their children how great they are) is not going to be reading It's a Book in the first place. I could see this being a fun read aloud but only in a nose-thumbing kind of way among people/children who are already readers. Honestly, the trailer was more effective as a medium and I'd love to see something like it being adopted by ALA to compliment their READ posters.

There's also the issue of the donkey. The book introduces him as a jackass and ends with a mouse reminding him, "It's a book jackass." And that's fine because it's a legitimate term for donkeys. But it's also a language issue*** and it just feels awkward and superfluous in the story.

I'm not really sure what Smith wanted to accomplish with It's a Book or what it actually will accomplish. It's an interesting idea and the book trailer is wonderful in its own right(do watch it!). Oddly as an actual book this one falls short.

*I feel really strongly that what we have here is a gorilla and it's been driving me nuts since I first saw the book that he is called a monkey throughout.

**Smith actually calls the donkey a "jackass" from the get-go, not I think in a negative way but just in a "jackass is another name for a donkey" kind of way, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

***I'm kind of a prude when it comes to bad language, but I wouldn't feel comfortable reading this book to anyone. Some reviews have said it's snarky or obnoxious, I wasn't feeling that but it was . . . a really weird element to include.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher.

You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print
Profile Image for Ellie Morland.
69 reviews
October 21, 2019
What a brilliant book. There is a rising concern about the current younger generation and the obsession with technology so it is nice to see a book addressing this concern.
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