Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a Book by Lane Smith Part 1

A couple of weeks ago The Bookies had its yearly Teacher Night. As usual it was a joyful night. One of the employees even commented that it is fun to see so many familiar faces. It is fun to catch up with friends and colleagues and to talk about what is great in the kid lit world. I always look forward to what the great staff at The Bookies is going to share. This year was no different. There are so many wonderfully interesting books out there. I am excited about all the new books I got that night. One that stands out is It’s A Book by Lane Smith.

I love this book on so many levels. Recently there was a disheartening article in the New York Times that discussed the decline of the picture book because many parents feel they are TOO EASY. It’s a Book disputes that argument. NO FOUR YEAR OLD is going to get the true meaning of this book. However, they will still enjoy this book.

It’s a Book pokes fun at technology. At Teacher Night I did have an interesting conversation with Shelly. She’s a wonderful resource and a true book lover. We talked about young kids and how easy it is for them to use an IPad and other types of technology. She mentioned during her presentation how she watched a trailer of a book she had on her lap. Truth be told we don’t know the impact e-books and other forms of technology are going to have on books. I do know that if we challenge kids using them and tell them that they can only read from a book we will lose.

It’s a Book has three characters. There is the monkey that loves to read, his fellow soul mate the mouse, and the techno-lover Jackass. The morning after Teacher’s Night I read It’s a Book to a couple of teachers. They both were shocked that I would even consider reading it to kids. They were both concerned that a teacher would get in trouble reading the word jackass to a class. I was SHOCKED, so I read it to a couple of more teachers. One said he’d read it to his own kids, but never to his class. Their reactions scared me and my beliefs. (That’s never a good thing when a children’s book is involved.) It is impolite to call someone a jackass, but when did it reach the level of forbidden words. It was used often on the Andy Griffith show. I had my assistant principal read it. She said “Can’t you just say his name is Donkey?” I said should I just say Winnie the Bathroom?” Ok, I didn’t say that but I thought that. Now I am worried. What is happening? I leave the book for my principal. Later in the day she drops it off and says, “I love it. Any parents call I’m sending them to you.” She is very supportive. This was the answer I was looking for.

After she left I picked it up and said “There are many different names for a donkey. This book uses one of them. Its’ a Book by Lane Smith….” We laughed at the pictures, we laughed at the sentences and we laughed at Jackass.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Thank you for this post! I bought this book, I love it, but I've been afraid to share it with my **gasp** 6th graders. Now I'll at least see what my principal thinks. (She'll probably want to keep it for herself.)