I was sorting through the children’s books at the bookshop and I came across this book and thought it was brilliant.
This completely sardonic picture book by Lane Smith mocks the digital age in a way that rings true. From working at PC World (especially over Christmas) you see so many parents buying tablets and iPads for their children to “keep them occupied”. I’ve seen people buy 16gb iPad minis for 3 year olds, tell me their 2 year old can play Angry Birds and that their 9 year old has the iPhone, iPod, iPad and wanted an iMac so she’s got the set. As sad as this sounds (and maybe it was just me), but when I wanted to be kept occupied I played outside or picked up a book.
I was cleaning out my shelves the other day and found so many books I used to love as a kid, loads of Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter. Books that looked worn because I read them so many times like The Secret Garden and later Tracy Beaker and The Bed and Breakfast Star. I wonder how many children now would know about Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddle Duck (favourites).
In It’s a Book there’s a donkey (or basically a jackass) on his laptop with what looks like a monkey while he asks his friend what it is he has in his hand. When the monkey replies “it’s a book” his friend is curious and asks if it scrolls down, tweets or if it needs to charge and all the monkey can reply is…no “it’s a book”.
The clear message of this book is that in this digital age, not enough children are reading printed books. I wouldn’t be surprised if kids won’t know what books in years to come or try to swipe to the next page instead of turn it. Even Kindles have digressed from the standard black and white easy to read e-reader. But now the Kindle Fire let’s you update your Facebook status, listen to music and get a bit of reading in when you get the chance (I should know, I have one).
I think Lane Smith has right idea about modern technology and it’s influence on the youth of today. I was 11 when I got my first mobile phone and was made up because it had Snake on it. Now an 11 year old will be onto their second upgrade of the new iPhone so they can send snap chats to their mate across the classroom. If you get the chance to put your phone down or your tablet give it a read, you might enjoy it (she says as she types this on her WordPress app on her new Samsung S4…)