It’s a Little Book by Lane Smith (review)

‘It’s a Little Book’ (‘It’s a Book’ now in nappies!)


I was drawn to this book because it has the exact kind of illustrations that I love – a little bit drawn, pretty freaking cute. I bought it first as a gift and then one for my own little person.

So I take it home and present it to my partner, who is in charge of the bedtime routine – dinner, bath, books.

He looks through it and looks at me. ‘What are you thinking?? It’s a book that encourages him to say no! We want him to say yes!’
itsalittlebook2._V153418456_It’s a fair question. I start panicking. What have I done? I envisage years of ‘No’ to questions like ‘will you eat your dinner/get dressed/go to bed/stop smearing that mashed up half eaten animal cracker into the carpet?’ I’ve obviously failed at parenting. And I have this book to thank! What cruel monster would write such a thing??

My worst fears are realised when two night later my partner comes out of the bedroom (beaming I should add), to tell me quite proudly that our son has added a word to his repertoire. And in context no less!

‘Watch’ he says.

‘Is it for chewing?’ he asks, looking at Tiny. I see the emotions cross his face. He knows this one. His mouth goes round. He’s thinking.

‘No!’ he responds. It’s beautiful. He can say it to ‘Is it for emailing?’ and ‘Is it for wearing?’ as well!

‘No’. It’s a tiny round, but sure sound, proudly answering each page of the book. Suddenly they’re reading together. He’s no longer just having a book read at him, he’s taking part. He’s watching the pages, waiting for his turn. It’s the most simple word, the negative, the one that makes us shiver with fear that we’ll never be rewarded with yes, but it’s got him enthralled by the story. All I have to do is ask ‘is it for chewing?’ in the car, to be rewarded with his delighted ‘no’ in response.

So you know, kudos, I think begrudgingly to the author of this book, for making a book that is entertaining and simple, with the perfect repetition to engage readers just coming out with their first words. Kudos for your clever plan to get them all saying ‘no’!

Oh, but there’s actually an up side to all of this naysaying. It’s that, while ‘It’s a Little Book’ might indeed be teaching our children the word ‘no’, it’s also teaching them that when we say ‘no, don’t do that’, we mean it’s because everything has a purpose. Some things are for chewing, some things are for emailing, and other things, like this beautifully simple little book, are for reading.

It also has a pretty cute book trailer which you can view here if you like that kind of thing.