You see books everywhere, but how were they invented? When you think about it, a lot of work went into the creation of books. There had to be letters, paper, printing presses, pencils . . . the list goes on and on! Book, a cheeky chap who speaks in narrative prose, travels through time, teaching readers about the history of books. He starts off with the ancient Mesopotamians and works his way up to today’s e-book age. Book is not so narcissistic as to talk only of himself; he dedicates time to influential book-makers and fun facts about the times. Captivating black-and-white illustrations keep up the tempo, and quotes or poems dot the chapters. Kids and grown-ups who love books will have fun learning with Book!
From the get-go, I was inclined to like Book. I’m a member of LitPick; I love books! Though I knew about papyrus, Gutenberg Bibles, and printing presses, I still discovered quite a few fun facts about the history of books. Did you know that an Assyrian king had a library with a kiln to bake clay tablets, an old form of books?
This book is clearly meant for kids, though I think that adult bibliophiles will also enjoy it. Brief chapters are great for short attention spans, and Packer’s illustrations are stunning. Some are charming additions to break up pages; others are diagrams that show readers things like how to make papyrus paper.
In between chapters are quotes or poems about reading, which first seemed a little odd. Eventually I got used to them. Some were really lovely; others were humorous. I know that I’ll be copying Emily Dickinson’s poem about books into my notebook!
I noticed that the author, Agard, is a British poet. That might explain the long sentences that sometimes drifted into lyrical prose. He also name-dropped Harry Potter, which is always a plus. I liked how the author made Book a bold character. He once remarks, “When politicians talk about closing libraries to save money, I feel like knocking them over the head.” My thoughts exactly!
Book is a unique, educational read that bibliomaniacs of all ages can learn from. I only wish it had been a bit longer, so that I could enjoy more of Book's autobiography.