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Lane Smith brilliantly captures the fears of today's book lovers over e-readers in a children's book - and does so with great humor
Donkey's gradual capitulation to the power of a real book is marked by both the hands of the clock (in a droll double-page time-lapse sequence) and the angles of his ears. But it's a mouse's final insouciant line that garners the biggest laugh
Those of us for whom books are a faith in themselves - who find the notion that pixels, however ordered, could be any kind of substitute for the experience of reading in a chair with the strange thing spread open on our lap - will love this book. Though it will surely draw a laugh from kids, it will give even more pleasure to parents who have been trying to make loudly the point that Smith's book makes softly: that the virtues of a book are independent of any bells, whistles or animation it might be made to contain. . . . For in trying to make the case for books to our kids, exactly the case we want to make is not that they can compete with the virtues of computer or screens, but that they do something else: that they allow for a soulfulness the screens, with their jumpy impersonality, cannot duplicate . . . The moral of Smith's book is the right one: not that screens are bad and books are good, but that what books do depends on the totality of what they are - their turning pages, their sturdy self-sufficiency, above all the way they invite a child to withdraw from this world into a world alongside ours in an activity at once mentally strenuous and physically still
A donkey and a monkey exchange words that reflect on the dilemma of print in the digital age. This humorous book speaks to the generation that may have forgotten what a traditional book can and cannot do.
Lane Smith has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff. Most recently Grandpa Green which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor book and It's a Book which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over six months and has been translated into over twenty languages. His other works include the national bestsellers Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben. His titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man; The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs; Math Curse; and Science Verse. Lane's other high profile titles include Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky; The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders; Big Plans by Bob Shea; and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. In 1996 Lane served as Conceptual Designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach.
His books have appeared on the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list four times. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut.
Two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor
This book was on the New York Times bestseller list for six months and has been translated into over twenty languages
Lane Smith's books have appeared four times on the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year List