There are books about everything—dinosaurs, princesses, feelings, the environment, and more—but bookloving parents (and booksellers!) have a special love for books about books.
Here are some of the ones we love; books that explain why books are so special, and others that have fun with characters who break through the fourth wall and talk directly to the reader.
We love Lane Smith’s It’s A Book, which sings the praises of books and why they’re better than any form of technology. The jackass in the story first ridicules the monkey because his “book” can’t scroll or text or tweet, but once the book is in his hands and he starts to read, he becomes immersed in the story for so long that the monkey has to go to the library to find another book.
Similarly, Book by David Miles, illustrated by Natalie Hoopes, shows with its beautiful illustrations how a book, “the most quiet, ordinary thing that could be”, that has no bonus levels or sounds or passwords, can be anything, or take you anywhere, you can imagine.
This is not a picture book by Sergio Ruzzier is actually a picture book, one that gently shows young readers how words can create pictures in your imagination.
The family in Peter Carnavas’ The Children Who Loved Books doesn’t have much—no television, no car, and a caravan for a house, but that caravan is full of books. Getting rid of the books to make space seems like a good idea, until the family realises how bare their life is without them.
Someone who really loves books is Nibbles the Book Monster; the only problem is that Nibbles loves to eat books! In this funny book by Emma Yarlett, Nibbles eats his way through several classic tales, cleverly included as books within the book.
Characters from classic tales also appear in The Last Book Before Bedtime by Nicola O’Byrne. The narrator and the characters from the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, debate which book should be the last book before bedtime, in a story that meshes all three stories into one humorous tale.
Many of those characters also appear in Hrefna Bragadottir’s Baxter’s Book, lining up for their turn at the Storybook Audition. Baxter, an “unusual creature”, auditions to appear in a book about him, but after watching the auditions of other, more experienced characters, fears that he’s not good enough. They all offer advice to Baxter, encouraging him to be scary, or silly, or brave like them. But Baxter finds that being himself is the best way to be.
Mo Willems’ wonderful Elephant & Piggie ham it up in We Are in a Book!, talking to the reader, flicking through pages, and rolling around in laughter when they discover the power to make the reader say “banana”. They get to be the stars of the book, unlike young Nicholas Ickle in Nick Bland’s The Wrong Book.
Poor Nicholas tries to tell the reader that the book is all about him, but on every page an array of characters, from an elephant to a queen and her retinue, arrive to steal the show. Nicholas tries to tell them they’re in the wrong book, but will anyone listen?