The Book With No Pictures

We’ve recently had a couple of exciting developments here in the world of child development.  First, back on November fourth, Jakey started sounding out words so he could write them down.  He wrote “luna” and “mi casa” without me telling him the letters and it was the best.

And then this past Thursday, Nate finally saw pictures in his mind.  At the dinner table he closed his eyes and exclaimed, “Mama, I can see it in my head!  A wolf!”  Up until now, Nate would squint his eyes shut and press his fist to his forehead and then open his eyes and say, “I no see it.”

“Imagine it in your brain.  Can you see a cow?”

Squinting.  “Uhh…”  He had nothing.

So it couldn’t be better timing than for the Book Elf to deliver one of the acclaimed books of 2014 titled The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak.

In a nutshell: This book is just words, as the title warns.  It has shown-up on a number of “Best Books of 2014” lists as innovative.  It’s basically a narrative that gets the reader to say a bunch of silly things against their will thus inciting giggles from its pipsqueak audience.  It makes kids feel powerful by “tricking” grown-ups into saying things they wouln’t normally say like “I am a monkey robot.”  It has one use of the word “butt” which will likely become the only line your kids will continue repeating after the book is over.

According to my highly refined book rating system:

Humor— check
Length— check
Plot— strike 1
Art— strike 2
Substitutions Minimized— strike 3

I like that it’s humorous, but otherwise it’s not one I expect to be digging through the book crate for.  There is no storyline.  It feels more like a long greeting card.  But, Nate calls it “the funny book.”

Families can talk about: Can a book without pictures be good?  Who do you know that reads books without pictures?  Can you close your eyes and imagine pictures in your mind?  Why do you think this book is funny?  Should we go back to books with pictures?  Do you remember anything about this book besides the sentence “My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named BOO BOO BUTT?”  Anything?


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