Friday, July 29, 2011

It's a Book

Smith, L. (2010). It's a book. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
This book has been on the  New York Times Bestseller for Children's list.

This is a charming book showing a discussion between two friends (a donkey and a monkey) who are having a difficult time understanding each other.  The donkey is unsure about the activity of the monkey, who is reading a book.  The donkey seems to not even know what this strange thing is.  The monkey is having a difficult time with the lack of knowledge about books that the donkey seems to have.  The donkey wants to know if you need a password to use the book, or if you could blog on it.  He asks all kinds of questions that are related to technology, as he sits there with his computer on his lap, dumbfounded by the object that the monkey is holding.  Each question by the donkey is met by an "It's a book" reply from the monkey.  You can feel how exasperated the two are getting with each other, as the story progresses.  Finally, the monkey shows the book to the donkey, who then summarizes the story on the page in text language!  The donkey begins reading the book, and hours go by with him captivated by the story.  Unfortunately, the monkey would like his book back but the donkey says no.  So off the monkey goes to the library, as the donkey assures him he will charge it for him when he is done.  The monkey, who has no patience by this time, says, "It's a book, Jackass."

The message in this book was great! I do, however, wonder who the target audience is?  I referred to the donkey as a donkey throughout my summary, but the author makes it clear on the first page of the book that the three characters in the story are  mouse (who makes a few appearances,) a jackass and a monkey.  So then I wonder, is the author wanting to be a little controversial with the book by not using donkey instead of jackass?  Again, I loved the message but would be hesitant to read it to my elementary students because it almost seems like an adult picture book.   

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