Review Blog

Mar 22 2011

It's a Book by Lane Smith

cover image

Macmillan, 2011.
(Ages 7 - 70) Highly recommended. Living in a society obsessed with tweeting, texting, emailing and gaming this is definitely a parable for our times. Jackass (his trusty iPad under his arm) is curious to discover what Monkey is immersed in. 'It's a book' replies Monkey. In a series of deceptively simple sequences Monkey explains that it doesn't require a mouse or a password, you don't have to charge it and it doesn't Tweet or text.
Jackass gives it a try. He settles down, starts reading, can't stop and won't give the book back. Monkey, sanguine as ever, simply goes to the library to choose another.
This book hits the jackpot.  Lane Smith has created a simple layout, uncluttered pages, and a perfect balance of shape and colour, together with a message that makes you want to shout 'Yes!' This is a work of genius, a classic in only 121 words and there's a pleasing symmetry in that number. As book lovers the world over already know, whenever a reader and a book get together they embark on an intimate 'one to one' relationship.
What I love most is that it reflects Anthony Browne's message. As Children's Laureate he is denouncing the habit of pushing children to read 'proper' books (i.e. those without illustration). Here is a book that could generate endless debate about the nature of communication and entertainment. AND IT'S A PICTURE BOOK! It will be wasted on children under seven, who won't grasp the intended message, so don't let it fester in a kinder-box. Read it and spread the word. It's a Book!
Claire Larson

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