Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How This Book Was Made

How This Book Was Made. Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Adam Rex. 2016. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: At first this book wasn't a book. It was an idea. Ideas can come at funny times. When I had the idea for this book, I went to a quiet place and I wrote. I wrote from early in the morning until late at night. It was very hard work. Soon I had a bunch of words on paper. Those words were a first draft. The first draft of this book was not so good. Neither was the second draft. Or the third. Or the twelfth.

Premise/plot: Love to write? Love to draw? Want to write your own books someday? This how-to picture book might just inspire the next generation to craft stories of their own. If it is nonfiction, it's OVER-THE-TOP meant to be hilarious to the audience nonfiction. (For example, he squeezes in some nonsense among his good advice. "But writing lots of drafts is a useful part of the writing process. For instance, when the tiger came back for revenge because I beat him in arm wrestling, I burned these drafts and scared him away.")

My thoughts: Barnett argues in this "message" book that a book is NOT a book until it has a reader. Once a book has a reader, then the book is MADE. I'm not sure I agree 100% with that. I would argue that there is a reader for most every book, and that every book has the potential to be some one's BEST BOOK EVER. I like this book, not sure that I love, love, love it.
Because a book can have words and pictures and paper and tigers, but a book still isn't a book, not really, until it has a reader. And then you came along, and you read this book through to the very last page, which was how this book was made.
Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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