Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's a Book

by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press | 2010

A donkey and a giant-headed monkey meet up in a couple of armchairs for a chat. (Sounds like the start to a bad joke, right?) The donkey wants to know what monkey has and monkey enlightens him: "It's a book."

And there the donkey's confusion and the monkey's increasing exasperation starts. Donkey wants to know if you scroll it or blog with it and where the mouse is (he, it turns out, is under the much-too-small for the big-headed monkey's hat). Donkey plays on his laptop berating Monkey with seemingly never-ending questions about what this book could possibly do.

Finally, Monkey gives the object in question to Donkey just to shut him up. And shut up he does. As the hours tick by, Donkey hangs onto the book, apparently enjoying it very much, indeed. He refuses to give it back when asked, so Monkey heads for the library.

In a last  moment of continued denial, Donkey ensures Monkey he'll charge the book up when he's done, prompting the hilarious joke-of-a-last-line to end all last-line jokes. (And yes, I've heard all the complaints about the fact that this is a kid's book. Have you seen the one where the bear eats the rabbit as punishment for stealing his hat? C'mon.)

Lane Smith has been a subversive voice in children's books ever since the Stinky Cheese Man hit the scene way back in the 90s. And he's still going strong. (Although not always subversively -- Grandpa Green was a Caldecott Honor this year and it's nothing but lovely.)

Get this for your reluctant readers (the little donkeys!) or your tech-savvy friends with kids. Everyone will love it! 

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