Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bibi's Bookshelf: The Book With No Pictures by B J Novak

The Book With No Pictures by B J Novak is pretty much what the title suggests.  It's a book with only words, sometimes interestingly placed on the page, using different sizes and colors of fonts to add visually to what would otherwise be a boring book to look at.

This book is one of those that's great fun for kids because the words on the page has the adult reading all sorts of super silly things.  In fact, that's the whole point of the book.  What?  A book with no pictures?  Don't worry, kids!  You'll still have fun because watch the grown-up reading to you make weird noises and argue with what's written.  (The book actually has the reader arguing with what's on the page.)

I was not impressed.  Mo Willems does a brilliant job writing interactive type books which invite adults to read in silly and outrageous voices, all the while telling a delightful story.  I've seen my son read to my granddaughter from one of his books and it's magical.  While I'm sure my son could do a great job emoting effusively as directed by Novak, I doubt he would have nearly as much fun doing so.

Perhaps part of my disappointment is that I thought the book would invite children to use their imaginations, to show how words can create images in their minds, or even show how words can create sounds.  Instead, all this book does is make the adult reader look ridiculous and, while I don't have a problem with adults being silly for the amusement of a child (goodness knows, I've done it more times than I can count), if that's all the book has to offer, what's the point?  I have a strong suspicion that Willems' books will still be published 50 years from now while Novak's will be forgotten.

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