Here’s my Perfect Picture Book Friday choice:
The Book With No Pictures
Written by B.J. Novak
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014
Fiction, 48 pages
Suitable for: ages preschool and up (Publisher says 6-8)
Themes: Imagination, Reading, Jokes
Opening Lines: This is a book with no pictures.
Synopsis (from jacket): A book with no pictures?
What could be fun about that?
After all, if a book has no pictures, there’s nothing to look at but the words on the page.
Words that might make you say sill sounds …
In ridiculous voices …
Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?
Link to Resources: Explore the website for information about the book and resources for teachers and parents. You can also talk about how you read books with your children. Do you read every word? I mean part of the joke this book involves the reader being required to read every word.
Here’s a video of B.J. Novak reading the book:
For writers: Interview with B.J. Novak.
Why I Like This Book: Reading this book turns into a performance — whether you want it to or not! While I was hesitant about this book when I first read about its publication, I saw one of the videos of B.J. Novak reading it to an audience of children and was hooked. I ordered it immediately. With little acting from me — just reading the words — Enzo giggled, laughed, and snorted his way through the first reading. I left the book out when I knew my husband would do bedtime, while I attended a writer’s conference meeting. When I returned home, Hubby said, “Boy, Enzo really likes that book with no pictures.”
Most of the pages are white with black text on the right hand page with the left page blank, but as the reading continues there are splashes of color and double spreads. It could have been a few pages shorter, but overall feels like genius.
Find more PPBF at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Patricia Tilton says
Whoot! This really is such a wonderful, silly book. I loved the kids and their giggles. Great way for parents and kids to interact! Will have to buy it for grand kids.
You’ll have to let us know how your grandkids react. Or better yet, how the adults reading it reacts. I think this book definitely falls into the category of appealing to the adult reader too.
That is so telling that Enzo, who is still young, LOVED this. I have been wanting to read it myself as it is getting a lot of good publicity.
Yep. The publicity and author tour, etc. have been off the charts. I love that the publisher has a website for the book too. Not many people get that … or it seems rare to me.
Wendy Greenley says
I didn’t realize that it was 48 pages! Now I’m even more interested to find this unusual book.
Yes. You need to read it. See what it’s like. As a writer, it’s an interesting one to study for pacing, timing and a unique spin – no pictures. The words do entertain.
Cathy Ballou Mealey says
That video would only be cuter if Enzo were in it! Lucky kids!
We don’t make videos of our bedtime routine. No one wants to see this mommy at bedtime … well, Enzo does. It is a fun video.
I was wondering who would be the first to review this awesome book. After seeing the video I too bought the book. My girls (6 & 8) both LOVE it. I agree there is no way you can read this book without becoming a performer (which is so much fun to do). My kids’ favorite line is of course the Hippo’s name, now they just saying it around the house all the time.
From a writer’s perspective it is fascinating to see how Novak has taken his comedic training and applied it to this book, with the comedic timing and audience response. The book isn’t even fully alive until it is being read to someone else.
It is a fun one and like I mentioned… my son loves it.
Julie Rowan-Zoch says
I loved the video of the author reading aloud, but wondered how it reads to the self, or to one listener. Gotta check it out!
As a read aloud to one kiddo, it worked fine.
Haha! We watched that video yesterday and my Mom Person ordered the book post haste!!! It will be a fun one to have in my book bag!!!
Penny Parker Klostermann says
I had this out from the library last week, too. I couldn’t imagine a picture book without pictures. It was very interesting and funny! The guy has a creative mind!
Thanks for sharing.
I know. I wondered about this when I first heard about it Penny. It likely should be classified as storybook v. picture book. I’m sure time will tell. It’s a fun story and interactive book.
Romelle Guittap says
I’ve seen the video and immediately thought it was going to be a hit. It’s one if those “now why didn’t I think of that?” Just goes to show that a book just needs to entertain in order to sell. The biggest selling point is the children’s reaction.
I agree Romelle. I do wonder if a story submitted by a first-time writer would have made it past the slush pile on this one. Who knows? Great reminder to test our ideas by submitting them. Who knows?
Erik - TKRB says
This sounds amazing! I’ll check it out! 😀
I hope you were able to find it Erik.
Teresa Robeson says
I’ve been meaning to check this out ever since the video went viral on FB. I think, before having read it, that it’s one of those books that go from clever to amazing depending on the reader, and the author does an awesome job of making the book superbly memorable!
I hope you were able to find it Teresa. I tried reading it several different ways and the “performance” crept out during each version.
Susanna Leonard Hill says
I am so interested in this book, Stacy! I’ve seen it, and articles about it, and the trailers, all over the internet lately, and on the one hand, I admire the genius, but on the other hand, you’re really depending on the gatekeepers to buy into it. I mean, what makes it work is the fact that the adult HAS to read what’s on the page, no matter what it is… but that requires that the adult be willing to read the book in the first place (knowing what will be required), not skip, not change/edit the text, etc. I think most adults would be willing to play along… but it’s kind of a gamble. Of course, having not seen the book in its entirety yet, maybe it’s not that much of a gamble 🙂
I found the trailers and videos for this book were spread by people of all walks of life. Something in the text spoke to them (or perhaps it was the children’s laughter). It will be interesting to see how it stands up years from now. It’s had a lot of hype (of course, I enjoyed it enough to think is PPBF worthy).
Joanne Roberts says
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this. I can see this book being a real memory-maker! Thanks.
I agree. You can do lots of drawing and shapes with this one. You could also make different things — not just focus on the animals in the story.