Thursday, December 11, 2014

The book with no pictures by B.J. Novak

You would think that a picture book for children would need to include pictures - but the rather surprising fact (for some people anyway) is that a book doesn't need pictures to really engage with its audience!  

The reader is the source of the magic with books for children, as a skilled reader can make the most boring or confusing book engaging and easy through the use of their voice, tone, and enthusiasm.  Novak has taken the idea of the read aloud book and thrown it on its head - creating a book that pushes boundaries, pokes fun at the idea of sharing the pictures as well as the story, and makes the reader really work to keep their audience engaged.  

I found out about The book with no pictures because of a post on Facebook which showed Novak reading parts of his book to an audience of children - and I couldn't help but smile and laugh at their reactions.  Watching Novak in action made it very clear he is not only a clever and creative writer, but he is also a talented performer who can easy enthrall his audience.  

When you are reading aloud to an audience it can be terrifying and having a book that hooks your audience from the start is essential - and I may have finally found a book hear that suits the older children who still deserve to be read aloud to, but who are starting to be "too cool" for picture books.  There is a lot to like here for audiences of all ages, and if you are talented at voices and/or looking surprised (not to mention arguing with yourself) then this may just well be the perfect book!

Be warned this is not a book for the fainthearted reader - you really have to commit to reading this book, you can't do it half way or you will be cheating yourself and your audience.  I loved this book and look forward to the chance when I can read it with an audience of the right age group!

If you like this book then try:
  • If I had a raptor by George O'Connor
  • Barnaby Bennett by Hannah Rainforth; illustrated by Ali Teo
  • Don't push the button! by Bill Cotter
  • Elephants cannot dance! by Mo Willems
  • Blue chicken by Deborah Freedman
  • New socks by Bob Shea
  • Wait! No paint! by Bruce Whately
  • This book just ate my dog! by Richard Byrne
  • Giggle, giggle, quack by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin
  • Press here by Hervé Tullet
  • Cushie Butterfield (she's a little cow) by Colin McNaughton
  • If you give a mouse a cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff; illustrated by Felicia Bond
  • The monster at the end of this book by Jon Stone

Reviewed by Brilla

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