Books and Words

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I enjoyed the interview so much last week with Miriam King about “Librarian on the Roof” that I decided to review a few more book and word loving picture books today.

It’s a Book by Lane Smith. 

This is a very creative and humorous, satirical look at modern technology. I would say it is for “children” from ages 4-100. With sparse, conversational text, a donkey and a monkey (and mouse) discuss the merits of a book in the world of texts, twitter, blogs etc… The donkey bombards the book-reading monkey with questions like “does it have wifi?”, “can it text?” … You need to read it to discover what the donkey thinks of the ole book, but the last line packs a hilarious punch. Simple words, simple larger-than-life illustrations and a long-lasting message that will have adults and children laughing.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley.

I really enjoyed this realistic look at the librarian’s hopes/task of finding at least one book each kid can love. Miss Brooks is clearly a school librarian after my heart. She dresses up in Wild Things and Hungry Caterpillar costumes and has a 101 creative ways of inspiring her young readers, all of whom succomb except our young protagonist, who is delightfully illustrated by Emberley in dungarees, beany, unkempt hair and look of disdain.  Artist mom fits the bill too, refusing to move to another city to avoid book week as there are librarians in every town! I could have uttered the words at age 7 that so many of the books are “Too kissy” or “Too pink”!! Despite Miss Brooks devoted efforts, it is actually Mom who provides the information for the book that will seduce our protagonist. Book-loving and book-hating kids should enjoy this story! Emberley has a real gift for some striking facial expressions in his illustrations.

The Boy who loved Words by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Giselle Potter

Potter already has me intrigued with her book jacket of a young boy surrounded by nouns and adjectives cut from newsprint! Schotter hooks me on page one, by not shying away from our hero’s love of BIG words like tintinnabulating or tantalizing! Selig collects words as other young boys might shells or stamps. On every page of Selig’s story the reader will encounter new words; a plethora of rich vocabulary as well as a creative plot, and while this vocabulary feast will feed many, some children will be overwhelmed with too much unfamiliar. Selig is nicknamed Wordsworth by his classmates and after a strange prophetic dream, Scotter’s zany story takes Selig onto the highways and byways with his words and a desire to share just the right ones with those he encounters be it a poet or a baker…. This is a tall tale celebrating the ‘perfect word’.  Both story and illustrations are whimsical and strangely clever. It was hard to decide on a target age group for this book, as I do believe some kids as young as three could be fascinated by the words, yet I believe it could also appeal to post primary children. It appears to be set in Brooklyn, with some nice Manhattan silhouettes in the background. This would be a worthy, but unusual, addition to a classroom.

Books 81-83 in There’s a Book’s Read to Me Picture Book Challenge.


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26 Responses to Books and Words

  1. M. G. King says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, Joanna. I’ve read Lane Smith’s hilarious book, but will definitely have to look up the other two.

  2. Words, words, words! I love ’em. I also love “It’s A Book.” What a funny book it is! I know I’d love the other two, as well. I’ve encountered a couple of other “library” books (sounds odd, but you know what I mean) which I’ll be reviewing next week. We’re on the same wavelength, it seems.

  3. Patricia Tilton says:

    Oh, I love this post and the books you recommended. They all sound very original and fun. I was at the library today and meant to look up “Librarian on the Roof.” Will have to check out “It’s A Book” and “Miss Brooks Loves Words.”

    Tried again to follow you, but it pushes me to facebook. Would like to add the feature. Sigh 🙁


    • Joanna says:

      These three you mention are books with a truly universal appeal and a great way to promote a love of books among small children.

      Sorry you are have such problems doing an email subscription, Pat. I do have some people following OK by email so not sure what it is 🙁

  4. Diane says:

    Love the books Joanna. I especially loved the Miss Brooks Loves Books and The Little Book. The Boy who Loved Words reminds me of the American Spelling Bea competition and when I have been fortunate to have seen some of that on tv, I am blown away by the words kids of today know how to spell, let alone pronounce or understand them.

  5. Lori D says:

    They all sound intriguing! I have got to find “It’s a Book”! If our library doesn’t have it, I am going to have to order it.

  6. Hi, Joanna, I left you an award on my blog — The Versatile Blogger Award. Stop by and pick it up.

  7. Love, love, LOVE the first two on your list, and will have to seek out the third.

    Have you ever read Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book-Eating Boy? Another good one in this sub-genre.

  8. Susanna says:

    There are so many imaginative, talented writers out there and so many great books, aren’t there? 🙂

  9. How could I have missed this review! Drowning in stat updates and twitterisms! Haha. Lovelovelove this post. We have also done a book review of “It’s a Book” – through the generosity of Macmillan Children’s Publishing group who sent us an advanced review copy. You might want to check it out here:

    I am intrigued though by the third book you just featured ‘The Boy who loved words’ – I am hoping we have a copy of that in our community libraries here – oops, just checked online! We have it! Yay. Will borrow this Sunday. 😉

    • Joanna says:

      Oh, Myra, I loved Fats’ extensive review of ‘It’s a Book’…. it pack’s such a witty punch and super message in so few words! The third book is truly in contrast to the modern subject matter and artistic style of ‘It’s a Book’. ‘The Boy who loved Words’ has an intentionally old-fashioned and whimsical feel about it. It’s style and vocabulary will leave some indifferent and have some raving, I believe.

  10. Great post! Thanks for the book recommendations! I am always looking for new books to read. Love the reviews!

  11. Thank you for these reviews! I really like the colorful covers of the books!

  12. Lori D says:

    Our library had it. I read it just by myself this morning while putting away our books- what a hoot! My kids are not that tech savvy, so they may not quite get it, but I love it! 🙂

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