The Book With No Pictures
by BJ Novak
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Category: Picture Book (but this one has no pictures!)
BJ Novak has been a household name in our home for many years because of his comedic work as a writer/producer/actor on The Office. Those of you who watched the show are already familiar with his comedic chops, but for those that did not follow the antics of the Scranton-based paper company, I have little doubt that BJ Novak will become a well-known name in your home too after you read his new children’s book, The Book With No Pictures.
I can’t resist a Caldecott Award winner and am married to an artist, so I was a little dubious about a picture book with no pictures. I had little to fear. What Novak lacks in colorful illustrations he makes up for in wildly ridiculous language. Novak aims for the heart of the young child still trying to decode the mystery of words and the control and power the reader of those words seems to possess, but he turns that power on its head and hands it right back to the listener. It is the listener who holds the reins, as the reader is “forced” to say all of the words that are written in the book, “No matter what.”
This book is sure to delight any child listening, but it is a treasure in the hands of a confident and goofy or genuinely embarrassed adult reader. The Book With No Pictures is the kind of book you will want to give to your child’s Kindergarten teacher, or to that outrageous aunt or uncle in your family who loves to make the cousins laugh. And while it is a sure-fire hit with the very young, my seven and ten year old were snorting with laughter when I was forced to announce, “My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt.”
If you’d like to take a closer look, here is video trailer for the book, but spoiler alert, if you want your first reading to be a surprise, don’t watch.