Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's a Book by Lane Smith

A monkey has a new book, but his friend is curious about it. What is this thing, exactly? Where do you plug it in? Can you use it to get on the internet? Can you play games? Text? Tweet? No, the monkey replies, it's a book. You read it, because it's a book. His friend is confused, but then won over...sort of.

This book has really caught on with people, especially defenders of 'old-school' ink and paper books. It feeds in to peoples' fears that kids, especially, are growing up without an awareness of what books are and how to use them. Is this a kid's book? Kind of. The pictures are big and fun, the story easy to follow, and I think kids would get the humour of confusing a book with something electronic. Then there's the end of the book, the punch line, really, where the Monkey turns to his donkey friend and says (spoiler alert), "It's a book, Jackass." So then it becomes something a bit different. I've seen it promoted both as a kids' book and as an adult humour book, and I think it's both of these things, which is why there's this level of conflict about it.

There's also been a trailer for the book that kind of went viral, which has added to the discussion around the book. If you animate a story and put it online, what does that mean for the content? Can you promote books online, while still trumpeting their off-line abilities? What even is a book anymore? Fun, important stuff.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
A Book by Mordicai Gerstein
Have I Got a Book for You by Melanie Watt
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
Madam President by Lane Smith
Read It, Don't Eat It! by Ian Schoenherr

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