While out in Victoria in 2010 to do a presentation for the local Children’s Literature Roundtable, one of the group’s executive introduced the audience to Lane Smith’s “It’s a Book,” recently released by Macmillan. Two characters, a tech-head donkey and book-loving gorilla, face off as to the merits of a book.
Visually it is a cute book, best read aloud. The audience loved it although there was some tut-tutting when the donkey is called a jackass. (Hey, it was Victoria.) It certainly captures the e-book vs. old-book debate with charm and humour.
Shortly after, I stumbled across the publisher’s one-minute video of the book on youtube and came to the conclusion that “It’s a Book” is even more effective as a video. In fact, it undermines Smith’s thesis that there is nothing better than a book.
Now this is doubly ironic as the video was no doubt made to promote book sales. I’m convinced that Lane Smith’s genius shines brighter when animated and garnished with a soundtrack.
No doubt the clip (which tells the whole story, minus the troublesome jackass reference) went viral and boosted book sales. But back then, it convinced me that ebooks for kids was not a bad idea.
Now, two years later, I have five picture books on iTunes — nice quiet ones without the distraction of sounds or interactive gadgets. Just a nice page turning read with funny pictures that keeps the reading experience alive.