If you’re a picture book connoisseur, chances are you’re already familiar with Lane Smith, who has often illustrated books by Jon Scieszka (like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs) as well as many other authors including himself. He has a special talent for creating artwork that looks as if it belongs in an earlier era.
Smith’s latest picture book, on sale today, is called It’s a Book. It’s a story about a tech-obsessed donkey, a book-loving monkey and a mouse. Think of it as the digital vs. paper book debate, but for kids. A few of us have written in favor of e-books or dead-tree books before, and I’m sure the debate will continue for some time. Smith, not surprisingly, comes down firmly in favor of books … well, at least compared to laptops, which is what the donkey has.
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. The one thing I didn’t like? Well, I really don’t need my six-year-old repeating the phrase “It’s a book, jackass.” Yeah, it’s kind of funny, but I’m guessing not all parents are okay with having their picture-book-age kids incorporating that into their vocabulary. (Note: “jackass” appears twice in the book, once at the beginning, and once at the end.) My daughter decided to just substitute the word “donkey” herself, which was fine with me. Aside from that, however, I really like It’s a Book. I should note, however, that I lean toward the paper book side of the debate.
You can watch a little trailer for the book to get a feel for the illustrations and humor:
It’s a Book retails for $12.99.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy for review.