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Watch for yourself: The 'It's a Book' controversy

Posted by Rob Anderson  December 15, 2010 08:51 AM

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The editorial board weighs in today on the controversy in Cape Ann sparked by the children's book "It's a Book." The story, the board explains, has a simple message: that "youngsters should be paying more attention to books and less to an ever-expanding array of electronic gadgets." That's not the controversial part, of course. 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."

For anyone who hasn't read "It's a Book," its publisher has made an animated version that's available on YouTube (below). The video omits the final "expletive," which suggests the story has probably elicited groans from parents in other places as well.

As the editorial board notes, the moral of the book (and video) really is one kids should be learning these days, so the "objections of some shouldn’t prevent altogether the dissemination of the book — and its important message."

Pat Earle, who runs the Cape Ann literacy program that donated 340 copies of the book children in the area, wishes the author, Lane Smith, would have left the last line out. “I wish he hadn’t used that word," she told the Globe.

Lane himself seems unapologetic. “I felt like the book is just repetitious if every page ended with, ‘It’s a book,’" he said. "That’s sort of funny, but at the end of the book you need a period.’’ You can watch an interview with Smith after the jump.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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