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A Book Hardcover – April 14, 2009


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Hardcover, April 14, 2009
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432512
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 2–4—If you live inside a book, then a reader can follow your every word and deed—"EEK!"—as the heroine in this multilayered fantasy soon discovers. Every one of her family members, including the pets, has a story: dad is a clown, mom a firefighter, brother an astronaut. The goldfish seeks the sea while the dog is off to investigate odors. Only the girl is without a story, and she proceeds to travel through fairy tales, mysteries, adventure yarns, and historical novels in search of one. Each person and creature she encounters offers the pigtailed child in striped socks a story, but none suits her until she comes up with one of her very own. Humorous dialogue appears in parallelogram-shaped boxes. Aerial views dominate as different guides, one a Sherlock Holmes look-alike, lead the girl on her search. While young children may have difficulty following the many twists of this story, they will certainly enjoy some of the jokes and the humorous illustrations. They may also challenge themselves to identify some of the fairy tales and stories in which the girl becomes involved. And the starring role given to writing will appeal to their teachers.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Metafiction for the picture-book set? In Gerstein’s able hands, this charming story follows a young girl and her family who live in a book (when it’s closed they sleep, when it’s open they rise), though she doesn’t know what kind of story her book is. Compositions are drawn as if the viewer were looking down on characters and scenes with the page as the ground; at one point the girl looks up only to be scared witless by your face peering down at her. She dashes through spreads that take her into nursery rhymes, on the trail of a mystery, across pirate waters, and even into outer space before she ultimately decides to write her own story, which is, of course, this story. Akin to David Wiesner’s Caldecott Medal book, The Three Pigs (2001), though not as complex, children might find some of the finer points of the concept to be challenging; but the conceit is executed with such cleverness and gentleness that slightly older readers who know a few tricks about picture book conventions and don’t mind flexing their comprehensive abilities a bit will gather a deeper awareness for the art of reading and an appreciation for the possibilities and openness of storytelling. The little girl’s quest is a terrifically sweet and humorous one, and while it rewards deeper reading, it certainly doesn’t live by it. Grades K-3. --Ian Chipman

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Dear reader, this one is a keeper!
D. Fowler
In the course of her search, readers are introduced to characteristics of graphic novels, mystery, pirate/adventure, historical fiction, and science fiction.
Emily Kissner
In fact, "A Book" is layered well enough that children can enjoy the story at their own level, while adults appreciate the more sophisticated humor.
Dienne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Everything is dark and you can just barely make out three beds, a rug with a dog and cat sleeping on it, a sink and the stand with the goldfish in his bowl on it. Of course in this story there is a mother, a father, a boy and a girl. In the morning everything bursts with activity when everyone wakes up. Yaaawn! Snort, snore! Everyone hops out of bed and does "all the things families do when they get up and begin the day." The little girl knows they "live in a book," but doesn't quite know what her story is. The father is a circus clown in one, her mother is a firefighter, her brother is a boy who grew up to be an astronaut, the pets each have a story, but she doesn't' have one. And so, she goes off in search of one.

Watch out! She's looking up at you. She travels past all kinds of fairy tale creatures, including the three bears, but decides that she's sure her story "is not a fairy tale!" Next she encounters a detective who thinks her story may have been stolen. The little girl wends her way past detectives and seedy characters of all sorts, including the ghost of a story that was "done in by a nasty critic," but decided that mysteries made her nervous. As soon as she escapes those pages, a white rabbit grabs her up claiming the queen would "be furious." Wrong story. And then there were all those pirates, those people in the historical novel and even her brother, the astronaut. Was she going to ever find a story of her own?

This was an ingenious tale, quite unlike any other I've seen in a children's book. The chase through children's stories of all kinds was a fun and very busy venture. The art work "matched" the theme of whichever story the little girl was racing through at the time . . . from whimsical to serious and beyond. Dear reader, this one is a keeper!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Hinchman on August 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started reading A Book with my son last May when he was barely two-and-a-half, and this quickly became one of his favorite books. Not only is it lots of fun, but the format provides a framework for introducing new books by genre. For example, we soon started reading classic fairy tales to get the references on the pages where the girl in A Book wonders if she's in a fairy tale. We're now starting to read Alice in Wonderland, to get the references on those pages. And of course the pirate pages have been a huge hit all along, not only teaching him how to dress and speak Pirate but contextualizing a recent visit to the pirate exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago.

In sum, it's a terrifically pleasing read -- my son still giggles when the girl looks up at him and shrieks "Eek! What's that?" (Mother Goose: "That's a reader. Watch out, it can read whatever you say") -- with great potential to lead onward to other pleasing reads. What more could you want in a children's -- or any -- fiction?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My six year old granddaughter is entranced by this book. So am I. It's clever, engaging and full of wonderful pictures. Gerstein has captured a child's curiosity with his humorous and adventurous story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Self-consciously writing about stories and writing, especially for children, is a daunting task. It can easily turn out stilted and leave the reader feeling rather baffled and excluded from a private joke. Gerstein's approach of taking the perspective of characters living in a book is clever enough and well enough executed that it largely avoids this pitfall. In fact, "A Book" is layered well enough that children can enjoy the story at their own level, while adults appreciate the more sophisticated humor.

The book is engaging right from the start. A nearly black page, with only ghostly outlines of a family in their beds tells us about a family who lives in the book. And when the book is closed, it is night and the family sleeps. Right away we want to open the book and meet the family.

Looking down into the book has the effect of drawing us into the story . We are especially drawn in when the main character in turn recognizes us, the reader - "EEEEEK! What is that huge... blobby thing that looks something like a face?" In some ways this feels a bit gimmicky, but it's an especially effective gimmick. My not-quite-four-year-old laughs with delight at this page.

The girl then draws us along with her, page by page, as she runs through many other stories attempting to find her own. We go through several different genres of stories - other people's stories - before the girl figures out her own story. I was rather disappointed, however, that with a clown for a father and a firefighter for a mother, we don't go through either of the parents' stories (we do, however, go through the fish's story - odd, that).

"A Book" is a tad hokey, but in a very original and enjoyable way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emily Kissner on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I look forward to sharing this with my fourth grade students in the fall. As you can tell from the previous reviews, the story stars a girl who is trying to find her own story. In the course of her search, readers are introduced to characteristics of graphic novels, mystery, pirate/adventure, historical fiction, and science fiction. I can see this book leading to great readers theatre, discussion of genres and their characteristics, and writing activities!
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