Today I am marking off my sixth #6 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
If a kid is trying to make you read this book, the kid is playing a trick on you. You will end 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 . . .
BLORK. Or BLUURF.
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.