It's a Little Book by Lane Smith

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It's a Little Book by Lane Smith

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: An all new version of the Lane Smith's thought provoking 'It's a Book'. This new edition is written for younger children, but adults may find this is as interesting as the children. This book packs a powerful punch as a statement on literacy, without compromise to the story. A wonderful book to introduce children to the enchantment of reading.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 24 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0230768758

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Lane Smith's blockbuster hit 'It's A Book' spent six months on the New York Times bestsellers list. Her new 'It's a Little Book' provides a very similar story, but on a level better suited to very young children. Both books feature a very computer-literate donkey and a quiet thoughtful monkey. In both books, donkey has never seen a book before and has all sorts of questions to which monkey always replies no or it's a book. Donkey doesn't seem able to quite figure out why monkey is so interested in this thing with no whistles and bells or lights or action, or to understand why monkey likes this strange thing so much - until monkey shows him the magic of books as well.

While the original features primarily technical terms, such as How do you scroll down? and Can You Tweet It? This book has vocabulary more suited to a much younger child. 'It's a Little Book' asks questions like Is it for chewing? and Is it for building, all things a very young child might actually try with a book with the exception of one more tech savvy page left in - Is it for e-mailing? As this book is clearly written for babies and toddlers, Monkey's responses are more limited as well, replying with a simple No to every question but the last. I have found young children love the predictability of this type of text, chiming in the no very eagerly themselves.

This is a book that makes a point, a very harsh point in fact. It is drawing attention to the very sad fact that more and more young children have no contact with books before school, and the print book is rapidly being pushed aside in favour of the modern e-book. More and more studies are showing that children do not interact the same way with e-books, and very well may not learn the necessary skills to develop literacy from them. That isn't saying that the Internet and Kindle don't have their place, but if we lose books we lose so much more than just the ability to decode text. This book quietly makes a statement on the importance of real books. But while this book does make a point, it does not do so at the expense of entertainment. This is a lovely book which my children thoroughly enjoyed, although they are perhaps a bit old for it, and would be certain to be read again and again with a little one. It has charming illustrations and is a very pleasant story read aloud. In addition to this, it also does encourage very young children to handle books correctly, but the sturdy cardboard pages will handle a lot of abuse if the child does not grasp this concept immediately.

It is very easy to think of books like this as baby books, but the predictive nature of the text also means that this can be very helpful when a child (or adult) is just beginning to read. This entire book, including the title contains only 20 words, most of them very small and easy to decode. But because the illustrations so perfectly match the text, it is very easy to guess the correct word, eventually memorising them as you recite the story and follow the text often enough. A parent can help a younger child in this by pointing to the words as they read. I can clearly remember doing just this as I learned to read, and my oldest suggested books like this for a friend who is unable to read, very clearly explaining how he used this type of book in learning to read himself. I feel this a critical, and often overlooked step in developing literacy regardless of the style of learning you prefer, and so I would recommend this book both for infants and for newly emergent readers.

If this book appeals then have a look at:

Babies Love Books by Catherine Anholt and Laurence Anholt

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book by Eric Carle

Buy It's a Little Book by Lane Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It's a Little Book by Lane Smith at

Buy It's a Little Book by Lane Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It's a Little Book by Lane Smith at


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