Today Reader's I have for you an excerpt of the book , a book trailer and Lane Smith's answers our questions on the future of books in the digital age as it looms on by :) Enjoy.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
CAN IT TEXT? BLOG? SCROLL? WI-FI? TWEET? No. . . It’s a book.
No matter how many electronic devices are available these days, you can't deny the simple appeal of a good book. Monkey is reading a book, but his friend wants to know what the book can do. Does it have a mouse like his computer? Can you make the characters fight? And does it make loud noises? No, it's a book. Monkey's friend discovers that a good book doesn't need fancy electronic accessories.
•A humourous picture book which pokes fun at society's fascination with electronic devices
•A simple text which is great for reading aloud
•From best-selling author Lane Smith, whose previous titles have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list numerous times
About the author
Lane Smith is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. His recent American publications Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben both were New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. His titles with Jon Scieszka include, the Caldecott Honor winner, The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and Science Verse. In 1996 Lane served as Conceptual Designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach. Lane live in Connecticut with his wife, who has designed all of Lane's titles. For more information on Lane Smith, please visit his website www.lanesmithbooks.com
THE QUESTIONS FOR LANE SMITH:
Q & A for Lane Smith,
Author and Illustrator of
IT’S A BOOK
Walker Books Australia • http://www.walkerbooks.com.au/
Q: Some people are interpreting IT’S A BOOK as anti-technology, but is it that cut-and-dry?
Don’t you use computers as part of your artistic process?
Yes, I think technology is wonderful. I work in Photoshop and love my iPod and iPhone and any number of gadgets,but at the same time you can’t beat running your finger along a shelf of books, picking out a title, holding it in your hands, then sitting under the shade of a tree, just you and a book.
Q: How did the notion for IT’S A BOOK come to you? How did the characters first appear to you in your imagination?
Today’s kids are so smart and tech savvy. I see the little guys on their laptops and I’m blown away. I’m sure in the future everything will be digital and kids will rarely encounter a traditional book. I thought this conflict would make a funny premise for a picture book. I originally envisioned the lead character as a goofy-looking kid, but I thought that might be perceived as making fun of kids so I took a cue from Aesop and made the characters animals.
Q: You’ve always embraced a certain wise-cracking humour in your work that, along the way, has sometimes been seen as controversial. For example, when THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES was published in 1992 there was some scuttlebutt that the words “stinky” and “stupid” shouldn’t be used in the book (which has since gone on to sell over one million copies and win a Caldecott Honor). IT’S A BOOK has a last line that some are now seeing as controversial. Are you surprised by the level of discussion and debate the book is attracting?
I guess I don’t make books for everyone’s taste. My very first book Halloween ABC was on some banned-book lists. I’m still not sure why. Perhaps because Halloween is perceived as supernatural. When I did The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs folks didn’t like that Jon Scieszka and I had the wolf eat the pigs (as he did in the original tale). In John, Paul, George & Ben there were those who thought it was sacrilege to portray founding fathers like Ben Franklin as mischievous boys. Are you kidding? Have they read Poor Richard’s Almanac? I illustrated an edition of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach while I was the conceptual designer of the movie. That book is always being banned somewhere.
Getting back to your question about the last line of It’s a Book. The mouse calls the jackass a jackass. My thinking was A. it’s funny and B. it is the proper name for a male donkey. But “jackass” in a kid’s book? I admit it. I am wholly unoriginal. You’ll nd “jackass” in many children’s books before mine. In William Steig’s beloved Shrek when the eponymous ogre refers to his donkey as a “jabbering jackass.” Then you’ve got it in a number of Aesop fables, it’s in Pinocchio (both the Collodi and Disney versions) and what about bible stories? Okay, maybe I should stay away from that one.
Q: When it comes to handling “adult” humour, do you think we underestimate young readers?
It depends on the child really. But I will say on a general note that grown-ups are always underestimating kids.They think lots of things are too scary for them. Grown ups hated Where the Wild Things Are when it was first published.
Q: So how did you first get into illustrating children’s books? When did you know you wanted to make this a central part of your artistic career?
I always wanted to do kids books. My first job was as an illustrator for magazines: Time, Sesame Street, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Newsweek, The New York Times, Martha Stewart, etc. But between magazine assignments I was putting together my first kid’s book.
Q: What was the first book, or children’s book illustration, that made an impression on you as a child? How did you discover it?
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. I found it in my school library.
Q: You’ve had the chance to illustrate the works of some of your heroes, including Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, and more. What is it about their works that “speaks” to you?
The humour, the singular vision, the surrealism . . .
Q: With all of your own writing and illustrating, do you have time to read other young readers’ books? If so, who are your favourite authors?
I look at everything that’s out there. I’m a big fan of so many: Patrick McDonnell, Bob Shea, Laurie Keller, Peter Sís, Kevin Henkes, Doreen Cronin, too many to list . . . But truly, my real inspiration comes from older books by Ruth Krauss, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Barbara Cooney, Charles Schulz, Remy Charlip, the Provensens, Florence Parry Heide, Edward Gorey, Judith Viorst, etc.
Q: Is there anything else you want to add?
Check out It’s a Book. No wires required. Hee hee.
for IT’S A BOOK
“I do love this book.” — The New Yorker, Book Bench section
“Stylishly designed.” —The Wall Street Journal , in its Summer Big Books Preview
“This tongue-in-cheek picture book about reading in the digital age features the best last line ever written in the history of children’s literature. Savour it in print rather than trying to read it on your Nook, Kindle or
iPad—the punchline will be much better that way.” — USA Today’s “Pop Candy” blog
“The final punch line . . . will lead to a fit of naughty but well-deserved laughter, and shouts of ‘Encore.’
A clever choice for readers, young and old, who love a good joke and admire the picture book’s ability to
embody in 32 stills the action of the cinema.” — School Library Journal, STARRED
“Smith addresses e-literacy in his irreverent style. . . . Meanwhile, Smith has the best of both worlds: his stylish drawings, sleek typography, and kid-friendly humour combine old media and new.”
— Publishers Weekly, STARRED
“Universally comical . . . the refrain and pacing hit the sweet spot for preschoolers, while a Treasure Island
passage reduced to AIM-speak will have middle schoolers and adults in stitches.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Smith throws down his gauntlet in the ongoing debate over digital versus print.” — Booklist
“A must-read for every publisher concerned about the impact of electronic publishing issues and every
child who wants to enjoy more of their childhood and Lane Smith’s arch style. A devilish ending may scare
a few . . . If it’s you? Lighten up.” — Publishers Weekly, named a “Sta Pick” by PW publisher George Slowik, Jr.
IT’S A BOOK • Written and Illustrated by Lane Smith
Published by Walker Books Australia
• ISBN: 9781921720147 • Hardcover Picture Book • Ages 6 and up •
32 pages • ARRP $27.95 • NZRRP $29.99 • August 31, 2010
Text supplied courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group