The Book With No Pictures

The Book With No Pictures, by B. J. Novak
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This is a nicely designed book which is fun for both kids and parents. It's best suited for 3- to 5-year-olds, but is likely to be enjoyed by younger and older kids too.

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The subversive always appeals to me, so I really liked the idea of a “picture” book with no pictures. I ordered this on a whim from The Book Depository, and unlike many of the impulse purchases I’ve made while stuck at home with a newborn on hideously wintry days, this is a definite win.

I thought The Book With No Pictures might be a little beyond my just-turned-two-year old, since it relies on verbal humour — though his understanding is good, his concentration still has a wee way to go. But I was wrong; it’s a great hit already (though I think three-, four- and five-year olds would appreciate it even more).

The story is fun, with the reader “forced” to read lots of silly words and noises, which appear in large type and bright colours, so the pages are still interesting to look at. The book purports to put the power into the hands of the little people, which is likely to resonate with pretty much all young kids.

It’s the sort of book that lends itself well to game-playing – either making faces and doing actions with the silly words, or (if you have a detail-oriented child) trying to slip in extra words or skip over parts of it once they know it well enough to pull you up.

I’m not a graphic artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I am often disgusted by the terrible typefaces and design of kids’ books, but The Book With No Pictures looks (to my untrained but picky eye) well-balanced design-wise.

The only drawback I can think of is that it is quite silly – but then what’s life without a bit of silliness?

This book meets my criteria of being enjoyable to both reader and listener and I’m always happy to read it when it gets chosen for story time.

Awesome or Average: Awesome


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