NaBloPoMo Day 20: a problematic word

Today’s post has nothing to do with knitting (I didn’t do much knitting today anyway, so I don’t have much to say about that). What I did do today was take my kids to the library. I love our local library. I love the way the building is set up, with the children’s section off to the side with doors of its own so that I don’t have to worry about the kids being too enthusiastic about the books. I love the displays they do. I love the librarians and the selection of books. Today, though, I was a bit disappointed in a book we got. It’s called It’s A Book.

The library is having (or had) a class on e-readers and they had a display of various devices in the lobby that could be used to read books (Nooks, Kindles, iPads and iPhones) along with books on how to use those devices. Also in the display was the aforementioned book. The cover has a monkey reading a book and on the back a donkey saying, “Does it text? Blog? Wi-Fi?” And underneath, “No, it’s a book.”

However, the book starts with “It’s a mouse! It’s a jackass! It’s a monkey!” Normally, I wouldn’t have issue with them calling a donkey a jackass in a book. However, this book is mostly a back and forth between the monkey and the jackass about what exactly a book does; it doesn’t tweet, text, or go “toot!” or need to be charged because (as the mouse says), “It’s a book, jackass.”

My 6-year-old probably wouldn’t have had any idea that there was anything saucy about that except that we picked it up on the way out and his 10 year old brother was reading it to him in the car but stopped at the end and refused to read that word. I was driving while they were reading it in the backseat and didn’t hear the exact sentence and I tried to insist that he could use the word when it was referring to the animal. After reading the book myself, it’s clear there is a double meaning. Which fine, very funny. Except now that the 10-year-old has insisted it’s a bad word, the 6-year-old has been repeating it over and over and saying, “What? It’s an animal.”


Thanks, Lane Smith, wherever you are. I liked your concept, art, and presentation until the last page. You need a better ending.