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The Book with No Pictures Hardcover – September 30, 2014
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—The actor (and writer, producer, and director) has penned his first picture book, but can it be called a picture book when there are no pictures? Entering the field of unique interactive books begging to be opened, including Hervé Tullet's Press Here (Chronicle, 2011) and Adam Lehrhaupt's Warning: Do Not Open This Book! (S. & S., 2013), this title will instantly intrigue children. Upon opening the book, readers are drawn in ("Here is how books work: everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what."). What follows is an uproariously raucous time, with readers being forced to utter nonsense words ("blork," "bluurf") and phrases that will have young listeners in stitches ("And my head is made of blueberry pizza."). Admittedly, there are no illustrations, but Novak has employed the use of various sizes of black typeface with expansive white space and color to highlight some of the text. This book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, and it's perfect for one-on-one sharing with a parent or caregiver. Expect requests for repeated readings.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
"Conceptually radical . . . making the refreshing and contrarian case that words alone have sensory and imaginative vibrancy to spare."—Mark Levine, The New York Times Book Review
* "“This book may not have pictures, but it's sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs . . . A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.”"— Kirkus, starred review
"This book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, and it’s perfect for one-on-one sharing with a parent or caregiver. Expect requests for repeated readings."—School Library Journal
"Actor Novak’s expert sense of comic timing is on full display in his first picture book . . . sure to deliver big laughs."— Publishers Weekly
"Listeners will be tickled by hearing adults say ridiculous things . . . The comic pacing and foolproof theatrics ensure a wild and silly trip through the pages for everyone."— The Horn Book
"This picture book with no pictures knows a thing or two about both books and kid-friendly comedy . . . Once children get the joke, they'll want to play it on as many of their grownups as possible."— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Unlike any of the children's books you read growing up."— Bustle.com
"Will have little ones laughing and finding a new appreciation for words."— Entertainment Weekly
"A perfectly-pitched tool for parental humiliation and childish glee."— The Boston Globe
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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I should probably give you a bit of background as to what makes a “good” kid book in my book. My top five criteria include:
1) Humor - I like my nighttime reading to be funny. I like to hear little kid belly laughs. It better make me snicker. I’m a huge fan of sophisticated humor that goes right over the heads of the munchkins to which I’m reading. Think Pixar movie, only significantly shorter, which leads me to two…
2) Length - Goldilocks length. Not too long, not to short. I’ll be here all night… no I’m kidding. Please.
3) Plot - I’m looking for a good story with an actual plot. If there’s suspense or a surprise ending, even better. I can only take so many books that “teach us about the body parts of insects.”
4) Art - Beautiful or clever or colorful illustrations. I get very little professional art in my life these days. Let’s make it count.
5) Substitutions Minimized - I very much appreciate authors that recognize the prolonged and ultimately losing battle against words and phrases such as stupid, butt, hate, shut-up and kill. I know they’ll end up in their vocabulary at some point… let’s not make it tomorrow? I really don’t want to have to read on high alert, spontaneously creating alternative words as I read about James Henry Trotter’s mean, fat aunt that calls him stupid and essentially submits him to such severe child abuse and neglect that he escapes via peach, Roald. I still love you though.
So for The Book With No Pictures:
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, my three-year-old 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 phrase “My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named BOO BOO BUTT?” Anything?
I bought it.
I got it.
I read it myself.
I couldn't even finish it.
Put it back in the box.
Sent it back.
Not for us. Too silly? I don't know, I couldn't even pronounce some words and I could hear my very logical 4 years old asking me what I was talking about. It would have taken me a week to explain it was all nonsense. Maybe I didnt catch the fun part of the book or maybe I returned it before getting to the fun part.
Yes they laughed (HARD) but some of the love seems to disappear with every reading. They did take it into school and had their teachers read it... it seems to be my youngest's goal in life to get every adult she knows to read it. Once that novelty wears off, though, I don't see this being a favorite story, because there ISN'T a story. Other than the gimmick, there just isn't a whole lot to it.