It’s a Book
Roaring Brook Press, 2010
From the back of the book, “Can it text? Blog? Scroll? Wi-Fi? Tweet? No…it’s a book.”
So, here’s this monkey sitting happily reading a book (Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson) with a monkey on his head when a jackass walks in with a laptop. No, this isn’t the beginning of a dirty joke! The jackass is an actual jackass (mule – or is he a donkey?). Anyway, the jackass asks the monkey all these questions about his book – he wants to know what it does. The monkey tries to explain to the jackass that the book does nothing, it’s meant to be read. The jackass doesn’t quite get it, even after he takes the book from the monkey and reads it for about 2-1/2 hours. The monkey gives up when the jackass refuses to give back his book and goes to the library.
Funny, really funny because do you know any kittens (or adults) like this jackass? Ones who would never pick up a book because it doesn’t do anything? Funny and yet, somehow very sad.
I guess you can guess why this book was challenged! That’s right…the word ‘jackass’. Now, the author didn’t use the word as much as I did (I did because I could and it isn’t a curse word – it’s the name of an animal); he only used it twice – once at the beginning and once at the end of the book. Of course, it’s the use at the end of the book where the challenge comes in. Is the mouse being sarcastic and insulting or is he just call the jackass ‘a jackass’ because that’s what he is. Hmmm…a bit controversial. But read it for yourself and see what you think!
Why is this on the banned/challenged book list? Briefly, a couple of Cape Ann (Massachusetts) school districts challenged the book in 2010 because of the ‘jackass’ at the end of the book. “At issue is the last line of the book, which contains a word that some find unsuitable for children. The board explains: The book “aroused the ire of some local parents because of an ending in which a character says, ‘It’s a book, Jackass,’ to a technology-loving donkey who just doesn’t get it.”
The board responded, “the “objections of some shouldn’t prevent altogether the dissemination of the book and its important message.” Bravo!!!
Click on the link to read the full story in the Boston Globe.
Rating: 5 out of 5 paws because its’ really, really funny and kittens will get a kick out of saying a curse word that’s not really a curse word!!!
Reviewer: Jack, the Banned Books Librarian