Novak, B. J. The Book With No Pictures. New York, NY: Dial Books, 2014. $11.46
The Book With No Pictures is exactly that: a book without any pictures. It is a children’s book that encourages reading to read instead of just looking at pictures. This book is still entertaining to young audiences, though. The catch to this book is that it makes the reader say ridiculous things in ridiculous voices that are fun and entertaining to the child and parent alike.
I grew up with an imagination and enjoyed reading. Movies and video games have ruined this for me because they take the imagination away. Harry Potter was one of my favorite series to read growing up. I would read the series every summer. This was especially so when a new installment was being released. Then the movies began to premier. I had envisioned all the characters and scenes looking a certain way, and the movies contradicted what I had envisioned. Now I cannot read them without picturing the movie versions in my head. This especially happened with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I watched the movies before reading the books. Instead of allowing the book to dictate my imagination, the movies prevented me from fully enjoying the scenes and characters being painted by Tolkien.
By not having pictures, Novak allows the reader to regain ownership of their imagination. While it does not tell a story, it describes ridiculous and silly things like a blueberry pizza for a head and a robot monkey.
Novak’s book returns to the foundation of reading simply to read. I remember grabbing books from the library simply to look at the pictures of sharks, dinosaurs, and military machines. I did not read them to learn more about the pictures I was enjoying. This happens more times than not with most kids. They simply want to look at the pictures instead of taking the effort to read. This cannot be done with The Book With No Pictures. It cannot be helped but to be picked up and actually read.
My son is too young to fully enjoy this book at the time because he is only three months old. He is growing into the age that needs the colorful pictures. He can enjoy listening to my voice, and I can enjoy the time I spend with him reading, though. This is probably of the utmost importance to me and most parents. We want to spend quality time with our children, and, in my opinion, one of the best ways to do that is to read to and with them. I can be guilty of sitting in front of the television and letting my son stare at it as well. While I enjoy cuddling with him and “vegging out”, there is extremely more fulfilling reading to my son.
I try expanding my vocabulary and push my students to expand theirs by using words they may not be used to hearing. I want my son, and future children, to be smart and intelligent having an arsenal of vocabulary that helps them to express what they want to say more clearly and sound intelligent. Novak helps me by using words that you may not normally see in children’s books. He uses words like “preposterous”that a young child would need explaining to better understand. Instead of keeping the bar low, Novak raises it so our kids can reach new heights.
The Book With No Pictures was a gift from some dear friends. I was excited about it because I enjoyed B.J. Novak’s work on the U.S. television series of The Office. Lo and behold, I had more and better reasons to be excited about this book. While my son cannot fully enjoy it yet, I am thankful for this book and look forward to reading it with my son in the future. This book is definitely recommended for all families with small children, but especially those with toddlers and older. They will enjoy hearing their parents say silly things and act ridiculously for their entertainment.