Friday, August 24, 2018

How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett

Who Knew Publishing A Book Could Be So Silly

This story starts out with humorous illustrations and mostly factual information:
  1. ideas for books come at funny times
  2. an author writes in a quiet space 
  3. and writes from morning to night
  4. writing is hard work
  5. when the book is finished it's only a first draft 
  6. then rewriting begins
The story then goes to an editor:
  1. who works in a skyscraper and is always eating fancy lunches
  2. who says the book is lovely but needs to be rewritten with her suggestions
  3. who has many many conversations with the author about changes to the story
So far the book is written in a funny yet semi-factual manner so far. The story is then sent to an illustrator.
"It took the illustrator a very long time to draw all the pictures for this book. I don't know what he was doing that whole time, but he must have been working very hard."
The illustrations show a man sleeping, tossing playing cards into a top hat, and then sleeping again. I have no problem with this humor or how anxious the author is to see the finished book.

But here is where the book drastically changes from the basic truth and semi-exaggerated humor, to "out of this world" information with total exaggeration. The book is being printed in Malaysia, where a printing press prints out thousands of books. Books forming a pile so high that astronauts looking down at Earth can see it.

After the books are printed they are sent by plane to the United States. Not! The author only wishes that. Nope! The books are sent on a slow boat to the United States. A boat that pirates decide to stop and steal treasure from. But the pirates aren't too happy to discover the only treasure onboard are books, so they skedaddle. When the boat finally docks they unload the books and they are loaded onto a truck. But there is yet another problem.

Will the author ever get to see the finished product?

What Concerned Me:
Being both factual and humorous works just fine, but toward the last few pages, it goes off course. And the final two pages felt like a last ditch effort to bring the story to a meaningful ending, but even that didn't feel worded correctly.

I know teachers have to always check the content of a book before reading it to their children. I'm wondering how important the gambling segment is to the book.

I wish the book would have either been a book to learn from (with humor) or completely wacky, not a combination of both.

What I Loved Most: 
Without a doubt, the book is fun and many will find the complete silliness just what they are looking for.

Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (September 2016)


  • Purchase Book Here
  • Ages: 5 - 6
  • Pages:  48

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