2020 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge · 2020 Reviews · children · Picture book

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

pop sugar 2020 7 march

Today I am marking off my sixth #6 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:

pop sugar a book with words no graphics

If a kid is trying to make you read this book, the kid is playing a trick on you. You will the book with no pictures smallend up saying silly things and making everybody laugh and laugh!

You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .


Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.

Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)


Do not judge this book by its bland cover. The Book With No Pictures may look dull, boring and mundane, but once you open B.J. Novak’s picture book creation, you will be taken aback by the sheer power of the written word.

In our household, B.J. Novak is best known as one of our favourite characters in the television comedy series The Office. However, The Book With No Pictures sees this screen star leave his acting career aside, in favour of a new title as a children’s picture book author. A book that contains a warning on the back cover, is sure to gain anyone’s full attention. I admit I was immediately intrigued! This book quite brazenly declares that it is ‘COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS’.  While The Book With No Pictures may look serious, this is far from the case once you begin your reading experience with B.J. Novak’s first picture book presentation.  This book is an interactive journey, which requires that the reader say odd words, nonsense phrases and perform outrageous things, all in the name of words! It is guaranteed to induce more than a few big belly laughs.

As an early childhood educator, I own and have read many picture books during my career. But, I don’t think I have encountered a book quite like The Book With No Pictures. It is offbeat, quirky, creative and a departure from the picture books I tend to read to my  students. This isn’t a cute animal story, but an intelligent play on words that demands the full participation of the reader and the audience following along with this zany book.

With the strong emphasis on words, many of which are made up nonsense words, the reader is invited to take a journey through a series of wacky requests. If you find yourself in the reader’s hot seat, expect to be placed in a variety of fun and unexpected reading scenarios, thanks to B.J. Novak’s creation. You may even find yourself composing a song, or becoming a monkey robot! Sounds strange? Well it is, but the humour derived from the pages of this comical picture book is just phenomenal. I was surprised that my audience, comprised of a group of forty six and seven year olds, who had previously read this book, still lapped up every moment the text had to offer. There is obviously something very special about The Book With No Pictures, which seems to speak to young children.

As this is a book that clearly states it has no pictures, the text is used to full effect. With variations in the text size, colour and type, I was surprised by how my eyes remained glued to the pages of this story, despite the lack of vibrant illustrations and splashes of colour. This really speaks volumes about the value of words themselves and the capacity carefully selected prose has to draw readers in.

I was left a little red faced after putting myself in a few silly situations while reading this book to my students, but it was worth it to see the smiles, joy and genuine laughter that came from the simple experience of sharing this book.  The Book With No Pictures is definitely a text you will want to revisit, with its playful tone, it will be sure to brighten up your day.

**** 4 stars

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak was published on April 18th 2016 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Book With No Pictures, B.J. Novak, visit here.






























6 thoughts on “POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

  1. You certainly picked the right book for this category and the title to match, it’s brilliant. I had to laugh when I first saw your post come through my newsfeed, Steven had a chuckle too when I showed him, it was a shock but a funny one. Such a bland book cover but it does arouse ones curiosity. You really did pick excellently. How do you do it? Lol. I have a book chosen for this category but I’m not sure about the cover, when they state ‘no images or graphics,’ do they mean only writing is allowed on the cover? As my book has two small red drops on it would that qualify as an image?

    Oh, and I just love your review, I read it twice it was so cool. Love seeing your books and categories you choose for this challenge. All the prompts although challenging they are heaps of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, glad I could give both Steven and yourself a chuckle! Yes it looks very boring on the outside, but inside it is very funny and clever. I came across this book a couple of years ago when a fellow teacher I work with read it to the class, and the kids were rolling around in laughter. I then saw it on the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2020 website/page, I’ve used that a fair bit already to guide my choices.

      Like you I wasn’t sure about another book I had that had a tiny motif/graphic of a fire on it, the rest was words, but I scrapped it and went with the kids book, it was quicker to review. I do think they mean no images/graphics or little symbols/motifs, just text.

      Yes this is a super fun challenge, its been great hunting through my shelves to find books to match. Thanks for reading through my review twice too! I enjoy looking at your book choices too!


      1. Oh, I must buy or library borrow this book, I think it would be something Sienna might really enjoy, she likes a good laugh and I don’t mind a belly laugh or two. Ooh, isn’t their website great to get ideas from if we’re stuck on a category! I’ve also been checking their previous years as well, love all their unusual prompts they come up with.

        The book I had chosen was The Historian, it’s back on the shelf, yep, scrapped it too, it’s going to be fun searching for one with no images/graphics, though I wish I had one on my shelf, out of my 600 plus books the only one that came close was The Historian. Come to think of it I probably wouldn’t have read it anyway as it’s a monster of a book, more than 600 pages, crazy long doorstoppers I have no time for at the moment lol.

        One happy cookie here that you enjoy looking at my book choices!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course, I love checking out your challenge choices and your coffee table books evictions too lol! Sounds like The Historian is quite a feat, I would look at changing it for sure! The book with no pictures was a great one to use, quick to read and I read it at work, even easier! Good luck on your search!

        I think Sienna will love it, how old is she?

        I’m loving the website for Pop Sugar too, so helpful. I also joined their group on Goodreads for extra suggestions 🙂


  2. Thanks! Wow, I never realised how many books are out there with no images and graphics on them, should be a cinch finding one.

    Sienna will be 8 years old next week, Thursday.

    I haven’t joined their group but I have had a look at their book suggestions for the more difficult categories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so, maybe the library could help if you haven;t got any to use on your own pile.

      Sienna is the same age as Spencer, as he will be 8 in July. I loved that age group, they are a delight. I’m sure you are enjoying sharing the love of reading with Sienna. They are so enthusiastic at that age.

      The group is very helpful for checking ideas for books and checking to see what fits.


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