It's a Book
  • Alternative view 1 of It's a Book
  • Alternative view 2 of It's a Book
  • Alternative view 3 of It's a Book
  • Alternative view 4 of It's a Book
<Previous >Next

It's a Book

3.8 31
by Lane Smith
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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.

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Smith (Madam President) addresses e-literacy in his irreverent style, casting a donkey in the role of digital junkie and a gorilla as a literary type. The donkey fiddles with a laptop while the gorilla holds a novel. "What do you have there?" asks the techie, whose words are printed in ice blue, sans serif letters suggestive of a chat room. "It's a book," the ape answers, in a stately orange serif font. The donkey tests the gorilla's patience: "Can it text? Tweet? Wi-Fi?" (When he asks, "Where's your mouse?" a real one pops from beneath the gorilla's porkpie hat.) After the gorilla hands over Treasure Island, the donkey gripes, "Too many letters," and converts the scene to emoticons before getting hooked on the story. "I'll charge it up when I'm done!" he promises, at which the mouse squeaks, "It's a book, jackass." This smart-aleck retort, arguably justified because the donkey is a jackass in any sense of the word, urges readers to side with the scholarly gorilla. Meanwhile, Smith has the best of both worlds: his stylish drawings, sleek typography, and kid-friendly humor combine old media and new. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“I do love this book.” —The New Yorker magazine's, Book Bench blog

“Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves -- who find the notion that pixels, however ordered, could be any kind of substitute for the experience of reading in a chair with the strange thing spread open on our lap -- will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith's book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain. . . . For in trying to make the case for books to our kids, exactly the case we want to make is not that they can compete with the virtues of computer or screens, but that they do something else: that they allow for a soulfulness the screens, with their jumpy impersonality, cannot duplicate . . . The moral of Smith's book is the right one: not that screens are bad and books are good, but that what books do depends on the totality of what they are -- their turning pages, their sturdy self-sufficiency, above all the way they invite a child to withdraw from this world into a world alongside ours in an activity at once mentally strenuous and physically still.” —Adam Gopnick, in The New York Times Book Review

“This tongue-in-cheek picture book about reading in the digital age features the best last line ever written in the history of children's literature. Savor it in print rather than trying to read it on your Nook, Kindle or iPad --the punchline will be much better that way.” —USA Today's "Pop Candy" blog

“Stylishly designed.” —The Wall Street Journal, in its Summer Big Books Preview

“In the age of e-readers, Smith offers a wry tribute to the printed word through a conversation about a book. As a gorilla sits reading quietly, a technophilic donkey pesters him about the source of his absorption: "Can it text? Tweet? Wi-Fi?" He may be a complete ass, but the donkey finally comes to understand the value of a good book -- least of all, no batteries required!” —AARP.com

“Donkey's gradual capitulation to the power of a real book is marked by both the hands of the clock (in a droll double-page time-lapse sequence) and the angles of his ears. But it's a mouse's final insouciant line that garners the biggest laugh.” —The Washington Post

“Welcome to a stunning picture-book entry in the print versus e-books debate. . . One of this year's best last lines will not be spoiled here.” —The Chicago Tribune

“This is a picture book that captures a defining moment in--dare I say it? --civilization as we know it.” —The Miami Herald

“Lane Smith brilliantly captures the fears of today's book lovers over e-readers in a children's book -- and does so with great humor.” —The New York Post

“Dry humor permeates the visual exchanges. With a cheeky punch line (kids, do not try it at home), Smith uses irreverence to express reverence for the book.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“Personally, we laughed our a$$ off--and we know a few kids who will, too.” —Time Out New York Kids

“If you're a picture book connoisseur, chances are you're already familiar with Lane Smith. . . . Smith's latest picture book is called IT'S A BOOK. . . It's a very cute book, short and sweet. The illustrations are charming--particularly the monkey's expressions--and your kids will love the silly questions the donkey asks about the monkey's book.” —Wired magazine's "Geek Dad" blog

“Young readers, who are, after all, digital natives, will get a real kick out of Smith's book, as will their increasingly technology-obsessed parents.” —Scripps Howard News Service

“In our increasingly electronic world, it's easy to forget the sweet simplicity of a book. In Lane Smith's delightful It's a Book, the high-tech generation, especially youngsters, can rediscover the fun there is to be had between two covers. The playful read is something you and your grandchildren can enjoy together, time and again.” —The Bellingham Herald

“Adults who think their kids can handle the language with a wink and a smile will love reading this book aloud to their kids and having a great old belly laugh right along with them.” —McClatchy-Tribune newswire

“Smith addresses e-literacy in his irreverent style. . . . Meanwhile, Smith has the best of both worlds: his stylish drawings, sleek typography, and kid-friendly humor combine old media and new.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED

“The final punch line . . . 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.” —School Library Journal, STARRED

“This is an exceptional picture book by an A-list award-winning, best-selling author/illustrator; a book that is promoting literacy and poking fun at those people who are forever glued to their computer screens. I'm quite curious to see how this one will play out. Especially when IT'S A BOOK starts showing up on a bunch of Best of the Year lists. Including mine.” —Richie's Picks

“Wickedly funny.” —The Horn Book

“Smith throws down his gauntlet in the ongoing debate over digital versus print.” —Booklist

“Universally comical . . . the refrain and pacing hit the sweet spot for preschoolers, while a Treasure Island passage reduced to AIM-speak will have middle schoolers and adults in stitches.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A must-read for every publisher concerned about the impact of electronic publishing issues and every child who wants to enjoy more of their childhood and Lane Smith's arch style. A devilish ending may scare a few... if it's you? Lighten up.” —Publishers Weekly, named a "Staff Pick" by PW publisher George Slowik, Jr.

“I just received my finished copy of IT'S A BOOK, and I am simply mad for it. I want to give it to every i-Pad/Kindle-loving friend, to every skeptic who doubts the endurance of book culture in the 21st century, and certainly to children who must, must, must be shown the enchantments of holding a real book in their tiny hands. I hope IT'S A BOOK is a huge, huge success, and not just as a children's book.” —Irma Wolfson, Book Buyer, Fontainebleau Hotel

“A spirited parable that should be required reading for every youngster likely to find piles of shiny new gadgets under the tree this year.” —The New Yorker magazine's "Book Bench" blog, in its piece "Holiday Gift Guide for the Precocious Child"

in its piece "Holiday Gift Guide for the Precociou The New Yorker magazine's "Book Bench" blog
A spirited parable that should be required reading for every youngster likely to find piles of shiny new gadgets under the tree this year.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A small, neatly suited jackass, introduced on the title page, confronts a large, seated monkey, asking what he is holding. "It's a book," is the reply. Looking at his laptop the donkey explores this answer with a series of technological questions such as, "How do you scroll down?" and "Do you blog with it?" The monkey repeats the same simple answer. When asked where his mouse is, a lively mouse appears from under his hat. The questions about lighting, tweeting, and other computer-related actions all get the same answer from the monkey. When the monkey shows the jackass a page of the book, from Treasure Island, his reply at first is "too many letters," with some editing. It is only when the donkey begins to read the book that he is captivated. Then the monkey is off to the library for another book, with a parting shot from the mouse. The characters are created simply, in black outline, with solid color bodies and clothing. No context is needed beyond a couple of chairs and a wall clock. The wordless sequence of the donkey reading across the double page as the time passes on the clock above his head is particularly effective. The lesson of the value of an old fashioned book in this digital age comes through the humor. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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
Adam Gopnik
Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves…will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith's book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain…The moral of Smith's book is the right one: not that screens are bad and books are good, but that what books do depends on the totality of what they are—their turning pages, their sturdy self-­sufficiency, above all the way they invite a child to withdraw from this world into a world alongside ours in an activity at once mentally strenuous and physically still.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596436060
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
08/10/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
158,316
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
AD170L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Lane Smith has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff, most recently There Is A Tribe of Kids, which is set to launch in Summer 2016. He is the author of the middle-grade novel Return to Augie Hobble, as well as author and illustrator of Grandpa Green which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor book and It's a Book which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over six months and has been translated into over twenty languages. His other works include the national bestsellers Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben. His titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man; The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs; Math Curse; and Science Verse. Lane's other high profile titles include Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky; The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders; Big Plans by Bob Shea; and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. In 1996, Lane served as Conceptual Designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach.

His books have appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list four times. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut.

Lane Smith has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff, most recently There Is A Tribe of Kids, which is set to launch in Summer 2016. He is the author of the middle-grade novel Return to Augie Hobble, as well as author and illustrator of Grandpa Green which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor book and It's a Book which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over six months and has been translated into over twenty languages. His other works include the national bestsellers Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben. His titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man; The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs; Math Curse; and Science Verse. Lane's other high profile titles include Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky; The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders; Big Plans by Bob Shea; and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. In 1996, Lane served as Conceptual Designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach.

His books have appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list four times. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

It's a Book 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Kate45 More than 1 year ago
This book was shown on the Reggis and Kelly show today. I went to B&N to check it out. This in not located in the children section. It is in the adult humor section. The book is cute however the last page calls the donkey a jackass." It's a book jackass" The book is funny but inappropriate for children.
AbsBoy More than 1 year ago
This is the best and funniest book that I have ever read! Borrow it, buy it, just read "It's a Book"!!!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
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.
skb0214 More than 1 year ago
I found this in the humor section and loved the message! Electronics and e-books are amazing - I use them myself, but there is nothing like a book in hand. Although the last line made me LOL, "it's a book, jackass" - helloooo, how many times does the donkey have to be told?? I will probably use another word when reading to my young grandkids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was extremely disappointed and shocked by the last line of the book: "It's a book, Jackass." Totally inappropriate for something advertised as a "kids book". I had to explain to my 4 and 6 year olds (who can read) why the author might have used such language. This type of language is not acceptable in my house - and certainly not to be used by my children. Other than that.....it's a good book. So I'll probably use a marker and black out the word so my kids aren't dwelling on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please be very aware that this is a NOT a children's book....ordered and started to read to my children...had planned on letting my 1st grader take it to school with her.... There is a word that our family doesn't use at the end of the book... Just be warned "this is NOT a children's book"
lusmoo More than 1 year ago
jack&#183;ass /'d?&#230;k?&#230;s/ Show Spelled[jak-as] -noun 1. a male donkey. 2. a contemptibly foolish or stupid person; dolt; blockhead; ass. the character in this book is both. it's not inappropriate, wev-c, unless you make it that way
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
This is a very pleasant book to read with your young child. It has very simple, yet dynamic, illustrations that children will like. There is a mix of familiar and new words to learn. The message will of course be dear to all book lover's hearts.
Sunbear9 More than 1 year ago
A funny ode to our favorite friends, books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first purchased "It's A Little Book" (board book) and it was so much fun to read! My granddaughter wanted to read it over and over again. It was always the book she requested at nap and bed time as well as many times during the day. So.....the thing to do was follow it up with "It's a Book". Great books that are fun to read. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful childrens book, great pictures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coppertop429 More than 1 year ago
Lane Smith has always been one of my favorite illustrators, and here he shows, once again, that he's also a great, creative author. In a smart-alecky picture book, a monkey and a donkey talk about a book. The donkey thinks it must be a computer-related thing--how do you tweet, type, charge it, surf the web? "It's a book!" the monkey is constantly trying to tell him. In this time of technology-takeover and eBook industry, this book is a perfect addition. Adults will understand better than younger kids, but older elementary schoolers will enjoy it once they understand the tone behind it. For a great version for toddlers, check out Lane Smith's new board book, "It's a Little Book", in which they ask, "Is it a hat? Is it for building forts? Is it for eating?" Adorable and still hilarious. Highly recommended.
ehm More than 1 year ago
A a tech support person in a school district who also loves books, I found this book absolutely delightful! And for those people who are offended, shame on you! The characters are introduced by who/what they are at the beginning of the book. And, if you look it up in the dictionary you'll see what any of us in farm country know: "A jackass is a male ass or donkey." Use this to teach the ORIGINAL meaning of words and not the slang people drag words down into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the tone, the illustrations, the message. As for the jackass, well, I love that too, but then I'm fairly relaxed about such things. No, I wouldn't let my kid run into school with the book -- at least not without warning the teacher (and I am a teacher) -- but hey, if you don't like the jackass bit, don't read it. Don't let that one little word - which is completely accurate by the way -- get in the way of a sweet read.
fourbuds More than 1 year ago
I thought that this would be a good modern-times discussion-starter with my kids... but I failed to look at the other reviews re: ADULT HUMOR. Yes, you can identify an animal as a jackass -- I was ok discussing that with my 9 year-old, but when they actually call him a JACKASS at the end of the book, well that's just crossing the line. I discussed it with my 9 year-old, but I am not letting it stay in my house for when my impressionable 6 year-old comes home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last night in one of my education classes the professor ended the class with her reading this book to us. IT WAS AWESOME. I admit it is not for small children, but after a certain age it is fabulous. I ordered it for my sister (teacher), mom (teacher), dad (teacher) and a friend (teacher). They are going to love this book and will appreciate it for its light humor. LOVE IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago