A dialogue between Ian Garrett, age 6, a brand new book reviewer, and Steven Whitton, age considerably older than 6, not a brand new book reviewer:
SW: Thanks, Ian, for coming by to read this new book by Daniel Wallace. It’s the first book he’s ever written for children, and I’m glad you were able to read it with me. Mr. Wallace is the author of one of my favorite books. It’s called "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions," and it was his first book for adults. It was written before you were born.
"Big Fish" is about a father who tells lots of stories about himself because he wants to be someone special that his son can remember. He wants to be different, to stand out, in the same way that Louis Fellini wants to be different from all the other cats in the book we just read. What you and I are going to do is review "The Cat’s Pajamas." Do you know what "reviewing a book" means?
IG: [shoulder shrug, followed by a totally winning smile]
SW: What that means is that we are going to talk some about "The Cat’s Pajamas" and decide how we feel about the book. That’s a book review. Why don’t I start by asking you some questions?
IG: [another shoulder shrug, followed by another completely winning smile]
SW: What did you like most about the book?
IG: Just that is was a fine book. Well, I kinda liked that there were cats in the story, and I liked it when Louis said "The problem? . . . THE PROBLEM? You’re just a bunch of COPY CATS, that’s the problem."
SW: What was your favorite picture in the book?
IG: Louis. He’s got a lot of cool stuff, like sunglasses and striped pants.
SW: What did you like most about Louis?
IG: That he wanted to be different. That his mind changed. That he found out he only had to be different on the inside.
SW: Would you read another book about Louis?
IG: Yes. That one should be about being the same so that it would be different from this one.
SW: What would you want to tell Daniel Wallace about the book?
IG: "I liked this book because there were cats in it."
SW: Would your cat Mouse like "The Cat’s Pajamas?"
IG: [non-stop head nodding and one more winning smile]
Ian Garrett is a student in the first grade at Kitty Stone Elementary School. Steven Whitton is a Professor of English at Jacksonville State University.