IT'S A BOOK
by Lane Smith - Roaring Book Press, 2010
ages baby to about 10 years / funny
This might be a child’s first introduction to double entendre! There are three characters in the story: a mouse, a monkey and a jackass. Guess where the double entendre comes from!
Because it has very few words, It's a Book could easily mistaken for a toddler book—but the subtle (and very clever) humour probably needs a more nuanced mind.
I imagine everyone has seen YouTube videos of babies trying to 'swipe' a magazine – and I confess I’ve done it myself after a long day on the computer! Well...
In this story, Jackass and Monkey have a frustratingly funny conversation about a book with Jackass looking for its technological qualities, much like the YouTube toddler. Of course Jackass eventually becomes enthralled by the book – but still doesn’t quite ‘get it’.
My favourite page is the one where Jackass tries to condense a page of the book. Monkey has shown Jackass a page of the book he is reading which has Long John Silver saying:
“Arrrrrrrrr,….we’re in agreement then?”
Jackass condenses that to:
"LJS: rrr! K? lol!"
So clever. And the illustrations have a slightly bizarre feeling to them – the monkey is much bigger than the Jackass. The Jackass is a bit crazy, the Monkey is a bit grumpy, and the mouse (whose one vital line comes at the very end) looks superior.
So, aside from being fun to look at, this book is also great for upending stereotypes.
This story is great for having a laugh at ourselves and our reactions to technology and to books. Laughing at ourselves is a really useful tool and one that seems to be lost (or diminished) for many children somewhere between the ages of 2 to 10. The middle to older end of that spectrum will very much appreciate it.
We've given this book as a baby shower present – because it’s so darn funny, future parents love it. It also serves as a warning or a reminder about the overuse of technology.