The Book With No Pictures
by BJ Novak
Put on your silly hats, all you adults reading picture books to young ones. Start reconnecting with your inner child and get your best imitative voices ready for a VERY SPECIAL picture book read!
B.J. Novak, known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award winning series, The Office, in which he wrote, acted, directed and was executive producer, has come up with a very imaginative “NO PICTURE” picture book. HUH??
Now wait, before you rush to judgment and say, “Now how will THAT hold the interest of my wiggly squiggly tot, I say trust me. IT WILL. But a lot depends on YOU! Feeling the pressure yet? Wait!
Mr. Novak’s premise, and it’s a good one, is that it explains to kids how picture reads work. Namely, it states that the picture book reading adult MUST SAY EVERYTHING THAT IS ON THE PAGE! NO MATTER WHAT!
Intriguing, no? YES!!!
It Is If the plain black words on a pure white page are filled with nonsensical phrases and words the adult reader is COMPELLED to voice and the pressure is on YOU to make it, well, WORK!
You, the reader will find yourself voicing phrases in a sing song fashion like:
“GLUG GLUG GLUG
MY FACE IS A BUG
I EAT ANTS
Mr. Novak cleverly has arranged an alternately outraged and aghast running dialogue that the reader voices to himself “sotto voce”, as he is forced to say the silly and the sensational stream of consciousness mouthings of the author.
A song? I thought this was
going to be a serious book!
Do I really have to sing a —
Whereby the reader immediately launches into the aforementioned ditsy ditty! Actually, it’s very FREEING, moms and dads and grandparents, too.
Mr. Novak has gotten the creative power of a child’s imagination to work overtime here, in that with NO pictures to form the images, children are free to come up with their OWN.
And let’s face it, as we older, more ahem, “sophisticated readers” pick up a tome, isn’t THAT what WE DO! WE imagined what Scarlett and Rhett looked like, we pictured the pinched persona of Scrooge as he stalked about his money changing hole, and what the RING actually looked like as we read “The Lord of the Rings”. I pictured Gandalf EXACTLY like Sir Ian McKellen!
B. J. Novak has given our children a head start in imagining WHAT is on the written page AND WE ADULT READERS are allowed in on the journey with our best Robin Williams voices. Not to put too sentimental a point on it, but Robin would have done a heck of a job reading this book to kids on audio. I can just hear the laughter as he launched into, “I am a ROBOT MONKEY.” The possibilities for mimicry are endless, parents.
Thankfully, I know I can say BONK with conviction to my 3, 4 and 5 year olds at Story time. My GA-WOCKO needs WORK! Can’t wait to give it a GO!!! Please do the same with your young ones!!
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