Friday, December 25, 2015
Book: My Autobiography, written by John Agard and illustrated by Neil Packer. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $19.00 ages 10 and up
It must have been fun being a little letter in those days, with different people taking you and shaping you into their own language - straightening you here, curving you there, as they saw fit. Even writing you in all directions, right to left, left to right, not to mention downward and upward. A page must have felt like a trampoline."
Book is the narrator of this intriguing memoir which takes its audience from oral storytelling to the advent of the e-book. It provides a carefully constructed look at the evolution of itself over the 5,000 years it took to bring us to what books are today.
As we read, we learn about the growth of alphabets, the evolution from clay tablets to the codex. We readers have met Book many times over the years. We will have our own opinions about those: some wonderful, some mediocre, some not worth the paper it took to create them. Book is a most interesting historian of the beginning, middle and ending of its development. It tells the how and why of its genesis. The years have made it ever more accessible for those of us enjoying reading today ... no more scrolls, heavy tomes that would challenge some of the strongest among us.
Today, Book is for everyone ... in a variety of forms, from a variety of places. It is meant to be savored by each of us because of its being relatively inexpensive, more available, much easier to hold. Whoever could have imagined the digital age, and the advent of the e-book?
Book is not so impressed:
"I let e-Book know in no uncertain
terms that my old musty smell is a
heartwarming perfume to the nose of
book lovers rummaging in used book
stores, yard sales, or charity shops.
Then I changed the subject and
told him it was a shame he couldn't
experience the thrill of being dog-eared.
That shut him up."
The design is lovely; adding trivia in boxes, through attractive illustrations and memorable quotes. Fonts change, history is shared and it won't take long to read aloud or alone. Accurate and bold, it is sure to be enjoyed by those who have a chance to share it.