Monday, September 6, 2010

"It's A Book" - Review

Lane Smith, co-creator of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has a new book out called It's a Book. This charming work concerning the decline of print is about a Monkey who is trying to read while a Jackass asks a series of inane questions, such as, "Does it have WiFi?" "Can you tweet with it?" etc.

When I first heard of the book I thought it was going to be a cute reminder to kids of the joys of reading, but instead its a little more agressive then that. The ending line - which I won't reveal -  while hardly shocking, was risque enough that Barnes and Noble chose to shelve it in Humor as oppossed to the children's section. Hint: There is a reason that one of the characters is a jackass.

The book can be read two ways: 
                                  1. Its a harmless and cutesy kid's book the reminds readers of the pleasures of reading in our overly digital world of Ipod, Ipads, Cell phones, and E-readers.
                                  2. It's a snarky piece of passive-agression that oozes smug self-congradulation - particualrly in part about the author where the word book is emphazied in the font i.e. Smith writes BOOKS. And his wife draws BOOKS!     (Not an exact replication but you get the idea.)

                      Of the two interpreations I prefer the former to the later. I thought it was cute and funny. But the cynic in me couldn't help but see the other way of reading it and felt it needed to be included in this pos, if only to play devil's advocate. What did you think?

Here are some reviews:
Lesa's Book Critiques: It's a Book
Book Sake: Review: It's a Book


  1. Interesting interpretations, Shawn. I guess I didn't take it either way, although #1 was closer to my opinion. I actually passed it around among adults, and my sister took it to work. Adults love the book because we're the ones who know what we might be losing in books, and we're the ones who see the world taken over by electronic media. Actually, I'm not sure children will "get" the book as much as we do. I thought it was a fun message for adults, even more than for kids. And, I think the dozen adults I shared it with thought the same. I'm taking it to work at the library tomorrow, and we'll see what the reaction is there. Of course, we're all in the "book" business, so everyone will probably find it hilarious.

    Lesa -

  2. Lesa, thank you so much the comments. I enjoyed this book as well, but couldn't help but wonder how people interperted it - perhaps I narrowed things down too much with only two options.
    If you don't mind my asking: How do you feel about future of books and libraries? My goal for this blog is to get as many perspectives as possible on the subject and your persecptive as a librarian would be greatly appreciated.