Children’s Book Review: The Book With No Pictures

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It may seem impossible to convince a child to ditch a picture book, but The Book With No Pictures makes a persuasive case for imageless entertainment, teaching kids that a book with no pictures can still be fun.

Two Christmases ago, my wife and I bought The Book With No Pictures for my nephew, Shane. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in part because I’m a fan of The Office. B.J. Novak, the guy who played the lovable (and distasteful) Ryan Howard, is the author of the instant classic. 

Shane ripped the wrapping paper like only a four-year-old could, and, as he examined the book, I watched his eyes dim to a murky shade of disappointment. He set it aside, muttered a forced “Thank you,” and picked up the book about trains his brother got.

“I want a book with pictures.”

Later that morning, my brother-in-law offered to read it to him. With a shrug of his shoulders and a pair of iron feet, Shane situated himself on his dad’s lap. My brother-in-law began making absurd noises, saying things like “blork” and “my head is made of blueberry pizza.” Shane laughed, and, in the end, asked to read it again.

My sister (Shane’s mom) appreciates the book too but for different reasons. I asked her what she thought.

“I like how the book introduces the concept of words being associated with meaning,” she says. “It shows kids that reading is not just an adult describing pictures but rather saying the words they see and that those words are interesting and fun all on their own.”

I like how the inside cover describes it:

“At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share–and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight.”



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