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It's a Book Hardcover – August 17, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
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.

A Look Inside It's a Book
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

How do you scroll down? Does it need a password?
Shh… I’m reading I’ll charge it up when I’m done

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5–Smith jump-starts the action on the title page where readers meet the characters–a mouse, a jackass, and a monkey. The monkey's oval head creates an “o” in the word “book.” Slapstick humor ensues in an armchair face-off when one character, reared on a diet of Web 2.0 and gaming, cannot fathom what to do with a book and slings a barrage of annoying questions, “Can you blog with it? How do you scroll down? Can you make the characters fight?” Readers know who is speaking by each animal's unique font type and color, achieving economy and elegance on each page. Exasperated, Monkey hands over the volume. Life, death, and madness, all in a single illustrated page of Treasure Island, draw Jackass in. He responds with a knee-jerk reaction (“too many letters”) and hilariously reduces it to text speak, but his interest is piqued. He covets the book and readers watch him pore over it for hours. Repeated images of him transfixed, shifting left to right, up and down, ears upright, then splayed, and eyes wide open, fill a wordless spread and offer a priceless visual testimony to the focused interaction between readers' imaginations and a narrative. Mouse delivers the final punch line, which will lead to a fit of naughty but well-deserved laughter, and shouts of “Encore.” A clever choice for readers, young and old, who love a good joke and admire the picture book's ability to embody in 32 stills the action of the cinema.Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 170L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436060
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Lane Smith is the author and/or illustrator of several award-winning books for children. He is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor for Grandpa Green (2012) and The Stinky Cheese Man (1993). Four of his books have won the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and several of his books, including It's a Book, John, Paul George & Ben and Madam President have been New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. Mr. Smith has illustrated works by the likes of Bob Shea, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, George Saunders, Judith Viorst, Florence Parry Heide, Jack Prelutsky and Eve Merriam. Some of his most popular books are with frequent collaborator, Jon Scieszka. Mr. Smith lives in Connecticut with his wife Molly Leach, an award-winning graphic designer.
www.lanesmithbooks.com

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Bibliomnomnom on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a librarian and education student I can tell you that blogs are NOT just for adults. Have you been in schools recently? Even elementary schools have students creating and adding to blogs. They are simple and easy to make and run, hardly the sole realm of adults. Any child in elementary school - who does not have parents specifically keeping them away from technology (if you are doing this, you have no right to comment on here saying "My child doesn't know what any of that is!") knows exactly what is being talked about in this book and would find it funny.

I also find it sad that so many are complaining about the word "jackass". A jackass is a male donkey - it's an animal. Use your dictionaries. It is yet another word that will simply make children giggle, they don't have any negative connotations associated with it. To them it is just going to be the animal on the page.

I think this is a fabulous book completely appropriate for elementary school. So many children spend all their free time on computers, watching TV, listening to iPods and such that I've seen children come into the library and not even know there are different kinds of books. This one is a great introduction to books, and will certainly draw them in.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on August 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lane Smith's wicked sense of humor comes through in this easy reader picture book aimed at elementary school-aged kids. This would be a great read-aloud for teachers at the beginning of school. On the title page, we meet mouse, jackass, and monkey, our characters. Monkey is reading a book, and Jackass bombards him with a series of annoying questions, such as "how do you scroll down," "do you blog with it," "where's the mouse," etc., to which Monkey keeps replying "it's a book." There's a very funny twist at the end, as Monkey lends his book to Jackass, and has to go to the library to find something else to read. A very funny gift for book lovers of all ages! Smith's very droll and simple illustrations are critical to the story, and the increasingly annoyed-looking expressions are Monkey are especially funny. This one's a keeper.
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78 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Stewart VINE VOICE on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a picture book for grown ups, It's a Book is clever and well illustrated, easily a 4/5. However, it is being marketed to children four to eight years old. As the mother of two children in that age range, and a former third grade teacher, I find that strange. The concept is great, but the execution is so-so. First off, children aren't as familiar with that technology (blogs are for grown ups.) As people who grew up with technology AND printed books all around them, they just aren't worried about the death of the publishing industry. So, much of it goes over their heads, and then it ends with the word jackass (which is going to offend a number of parents, keep it off library shelves, etc.) I can't imagine recommending this book to other families with little kids. However, I can think of lots of adults and snarky teenagers who would adore it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"It's A Book"
Written and Illustrated by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, 2010)
---------------------------------------------------
Stop me if you've heard this one before: A mouse, a monkey and a jackass walk into a room together... The jackass sits down and gets out his laptop and the monkey opens a copy of "Treasure Island." The donkey looks over and asks, what's that? how does it boot up? And so on. The donkey is Lane Smith's fall-guy for a generation of tech-savvy kids who wouldn't know a novel from their elbow, unable to comprehend what this strange object is that the monkey holds in its hands -- how does it work? what does it do? Is it 3.0? Eventually he gets it, when the monkey loans him the book, and he is transported to the world of fantasy, and then doesn't want to give it back. The illustrations are great and the basic premise is fine, but what leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the big joke that the book is a set-up for: the irritated mouse and monkey finally calling the jackass, "jackass!" in an insulting way. Hardy har har. I bet that really gets 'em rolling in the aisles in second grade library period. But, frankly, I'm not really on board with Lane Smith's life mission of making the world of children's picturebooks more snarky. There's enough snark in kid's culture these days -- I don't feel the need to perpetuate it, myself. This is one of the few picturebooks I've read that I didn't want to share with my kid -- I just didn't see the point, even though the book was kind of funny. (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain kids' book reviews)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Literacy Advocate on November 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Having only gotten into the Amazon review process fairly recently (my reviews usually go directly to publishers), I had occasion, when creating a lesson/program plan, to pick up the wonderful IT'S A BOOK once again. I did not consult any reviews when I originally purchased the book, and have had great success, as well as a ton of fun, using this picture book, with adult and child audiences, to illustrate the importance of "true life" books! I was quite surprised at the controversial aspects posed by reviewers regarding vocabulary in the book, and other complaints.

My take on this lovely little book is that it is a fable for us in modern times....and it is, quite simply and totally, exactly what it purports to be at face value. The animal being spoken to on the final page of the book is, indeed, a jackass. The book makes its point in a simple, almost brilliant way...and reminds us all not to become jackasses ourselves by forgetting to recognize the incredible value of a true life, actual, physical, text, book! I encourage all to read with a smile and don't take this book overly seriously, but to take its message to heart. Would many of our young children recognize a cassette tape (forget 8-track!), or a princess phone (from the old AT&T days), or even a 33LP record album? Heaven forbid we ever get to a time in our society when, like the jackass, we cannot recognize an actual book because they, too, have become obsolete. This time, however, we can do so with a smile on our faces as we read this clever story!

For those who continue to find the language offensive, I recommend IT'S A LITTLE BOOK. This title, published in board book format in the year following its namesake's publication, is an even kinder and gentler version of the same story....
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