The newest Lane Smith book, The Big Elephant in the the Room is due out July 7, 2009. I went to read it to my first grade son and started by telling him “The Big Elephant in the Room” is an idiom. I immediately launched into “teacher mom” and started to try to explain to him what an idiom was. He interrupts me and tells me, “Mom, I know what an idiom is. You don’t need to tell me!” I’m thinking to myself, “How is it you know what an idiom is when it has always been really hard for my fourth graders to remember one? Your teacher must be brilliant!”
“So did you teacher teach you about idioms today?” I ask, thinking it had to be a coincidence that she just talked about it on the day I was sharing the book with him. Surely he couldn’t have remembered that from some earlier lesson!
“No Mom. I learned it from listening to stink,” he replies matter-of-factedly.
“Stink?” I question him, “What do you mean stink?”
“You know the audiobook I’ve been listening to in my room? I learned it from the book Stink,” he answers (probably thinking “Duh mom!”).
Hmmm! I love audiobooks for so many reasons! Add that to the list!
I’ve loved everything by Lane Smith that I’ve encountered, but I didn’t love the story of two donkey friends, one “geeky” and one not. The non-geek keeps listing all these mean things that he thinks the “geek” is upset with him about, most of which entail the “non-geek” either making fun of the “geek” or not sticking up for his friend. I didn’t really care for how the book does not really address that issue or end with a positive message.
The illustration style is fun as always, but the story is not as strong as what I’ve come to expect from Smith.
If it was a movie in the theatre, I’d say, “Wait until it comes out on video.” Or in this case, paperback.