cover image It's a Book

It's a Book

Lane Smith, Roaring Brook, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-606-0

Smith (Madam President) addresses e-literacy in his irreverent style, casting a donkey in the role of digital junkie and a gorilla as a literary type. The donkey fiddles with a laptop while the gorilla holds a novel. "What do you have there?" asks the techie, whose words are printed in ice blue, sans serif letters suggestive of a chat room. "It's a book," the ape answers, in a stately orange serif font. The donkey tests the gorilla's patience: "Can it text? Tweet? Wi-Fi?" (When he asks, "Where's your mouse?" a real one pops from beneath the gorilla's porkpie hat.) After the gorilla hands over Treasure Island, the donkey gripes, "Too many letters," and converts the scene to emoticons before getting hooked on the story. "I'll charge it up when I'm done!" he promises, at which the mouse squeaks, "It's a book, jackass." This smart-aleck retort, arguably justified because the donkey is a jackass in any sense of the word, urges readers to side with the scholarly gorilla. Meanwhile, Smith has the best of both worlds: his stylish drawings, sleek typography, and kid-friendly humor combine old media and new. Ages 6–up. (Sept.)