Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It is not a Boring Book!

The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin), 2013

Once there was a book
that no one ever read.

People who tried
to read the book
fell asleep.

The narrator tells us the book was too unexciting, dreary, dull, and boring - in very interesting type-face and clever lift the flap inserts, I might add. Then one day the words decided to escape and leap onto road signs, decorate pathways and roadways and even jump into ponds. The games they play are reflected in the word-play on the page (or little book). The type-face pictures are stunning. Find out what mischief the words get into, what the people do about it, and just how important words play in our world.

Teachers and parents could use this book in a multitude of ways. An English teacher (Primary and Intermediate) could use it for a starting point on the visual impact words make. Children could brainstorm noise words, silly words, brainy words (just like the characters do in the story). They could use words and type-face as a way to illustrate a page or poster. Kids could also make their own book - just like the one in the back of the book and write their own interesting story. In Social Studies a teacher could look at the impact that words and printing have played over the centuries.  In art students could make their own type-face word pictures. The book will generate much discussion.

Who should get this book? Kids - 4-12 years, parents, teachers and librarians. It is a book to treasure!

I was very excited by this book when I received it to review. I emailed author/illustrator Vasanti Unka straight away to invite her to exhibit in the What Lies Beneath Exhibition on at the moment at the National Library, 8 Stanley Street, Parnell. Vasanti Unka's exhibit begins tomorrow - 20th February - at the National Library. Pop in to see it and the four other exhibits on display. For more information about the What Lies Beneath Exhibition go to the What Lies Beneath blog. Teachers can download a teaching resource to go with 'The Boring Book' on the above blog.

Vasanti Unka designed books for publishing houses before illustrating children and adult books: Sari, Longing & Belonging, Frontiers & Dreams (won best Education Design at NZ Book Awards 2007), What is an Amphibian, What is a Bird, The family friendly gluten-free cookbook. She illustrated Kyle Mewburn's book 'Hill & Hole' which won the 2011 BPANZ design award (first children's book to do so). She has also illustrated and designed many front covers for books and magazines. This is the third book she has written and illustrated herself; the first two were two little craft books for children: Star Boy & Friends: How to make cool stuff from socks and gloves; and Weird Rabbit & Friends: How to make cool stuff from felt.

Reviewed by Maria Gill

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