It’s a Book by Lane Smith


bookI suppose my sentiments are the same as many of those who have reviewed this book.

It’s a great little story…until the end. As a techno-curmudgeon and a lover of books, I particularly enjoyed seeing the long-suffering monkey (aiding by a mouse) convince the donkey about the benefits of books over technology.

As for the ending…

After the donkey has asked a number of rather silly questions about monkey’s book (“Do you blog with it?” “Where’s your mouse?” “Does it need a password?”), the mouse, perched upon the monkey blithely replies “It’s a book, Jackass.”

I get the joke. I find it humorous. I may tattoo the quote on my forehead. Unfortunately, a young child might not take it in that light (or a parent for that matter). Yes, you can explain to the child that a donkey is also known as a jackass. However, I can also imagine a child armed with that knowledge, marching into their kindergarten class, explaining it to his or her classmates, and then the whole day would be filled with little high-pitched shouts of “It’s a book, Jackass!” All right, maybe that’s an extreme example, but still, I would hesitate to read this book to young children.

I also think the concluding joke does the entire book a disservice. When it first came out, it was placed in my library’s high-trafficking picture book section. A parent soon discovered the book and complained, so it was switched to the chapter book section (and who would look for a picture book there?) where it languished untouched on the shelf for several years before finally being withdrawn.

And so the moral if the story is: books are good, technology is bad, and know your audience.

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