It’s a Book
My local library was the first library in the British Empire devoted exclusively to children. The Lillian H. Smith Public Library was first open in 1922 under the name of the Boys & Girls House Library. The library has gone through a lot of changes over the years including being demolished, moved and rebuilt. The Lillian H. Smith Public Library houses a series of special collections: the Canadian Children’s Collection, the Children’s Literature Resource Collection, the Lillian H. Smith Children’s Collection, the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s books, the Merril Collection (a science fiction, fantasy and horror collection), the Marguerite G. Bagshaw Collection of Puppetry Creative Drama, and Theatre for Children.
Keen observers will notice that the last couple of books showcased on B is for Books have been from my local library. Collecting books can get expensive so for those on a shoestring budget the public library offers the perfect solution. My local library is great at keeping the bookshelves stocked with newly released books and even stocks books that at no longer in print. Keep reading…
This week’s book was also borrowed from the Lillian H. Smith Public Library and is probably the most profound book I have ever came across. It’s a Book written and illustrated by Lane Smith. The story reads more like a commentary on the state of books in our technologically advance society than a story book. In It’s a Book, Lane Smith celebrates books without criticizing technology, he simply highlights how reading a book differs from the experience of interacting with an electronic screen.
Jackass is one tech savvy donkey. He blogs, he tweets but he doesn’t know what a book is. Monkey is trying to read a book but Jackass keeps interrupting him again and again with questions. Jackass is relentless until Monkey hands over his book; hooked on reading Jackass finally quiets down.
I think It’s a Book contains lots of depth for a book that is sparse on words and pictures. Unique font type and colour is used to indicate which animal is speaking. To create the unique textures, Lane Smith combines a dry brush technique with oil paints and acrylic. Once the paint dries, it is scanned and the final illustrations are assembled on the computer. For more insight on the making of It’s a Book, check out Lane Smith’s blog www.curiouspages.blogspot.com
My favorite scene in the story is when Jackass claims there are too many letters in Treasure Island and reduces it to text speak. With deadpan humor and witty one-liners, It’s a Book uses humor to open up conversations about the impact of technology and the role of books in our society. I have renewed my library copy of It’s a Book twice now, a sure sign that I will need to purchase a copy for my own bookshelf.
It’s a Book, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Lane Smith
Lane Smith’s website claims that he has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff, which is a big understatement. Lane Smith has written and illustrated a ton of stuff. He has been so busy writing and illustrating that the last entry on his blog was dated in 2009. To check out his impressive list of books, visit his website at www.lanesmithbooks.com
The bio on his website in pretty sparse, it reads more like a book credit than a biography. I was able to find out that Lane Smith was born on August 25th, 1959 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from collage with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in illustrations. So if anyone out there has any info, please share.
Publisher Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (August 17, 2010)