This is the “lesser offenses” section of my previous post. We regularly have children’s books in our home for the grandchildren, and in December my wife brought from the library one of those she knew I would love. It’s a Book by Lane Smith is a story which, like the comics I read to the grandchildren, appears to be for children, but adults may appreciate it more. It’s a Book features a conversation between a monkey who is reading a book and a male donkey or jackass who is using his laptop. I read it over and over to children ages two-and-a-half to almost five who kept selecting it from the book basket at my home. It wasn’t any more difficult to talk about the double meaning of the word “jackass” than to explain many things we read in the comic pages. The last word in the book uses the word “jackass” in its derogatory form, so when we looked for it again in the library to use in writing this post, the librarian explained to us that it could now be found in the “juvenile” section — that it had been moved from the children’s section because of parental sensitivity to the final word. Sometimes we underestimate what young minds can understand. I remember when I was sending out review copies of Well Considered, I asked some teachers and librarians for age level recommendations. Indeed I myself have been asked whether it is suitable for young adults. I never got an opinion from the adults, but my 13-year-old grandson said it was the best book he had ever read when I discovered that he had read it. There you have it!
Another great children’s book we found is Chalk by Bill Thomson in which chalk drawings come to life, including a dinosaur. Maybe one reason I like it is that the acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations remind me of the art done by my illustrator, Audrey Engdahl (http://rickandaudrey.com/audrey/art/art-samples/).