Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
The Book with No Pictures
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Book with No Pictures, by actor/comedian/screenwriter B.J. Novak (The Office, Saving Mr. Banks), is a very funny book that asks the reader to say all sorts of silly things to prove that a book with only words can be fun and entertaining. A fantastic choice as a read-aloud. Get ready for giggles and guffaws.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The narrator speaks directly to the reader, saying that it probably seems as if a book with no pictures will be "boring and serious. Except ... Here's how books work: Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what." So as the pages turn, the reader has to say words such as "BLORK" and "BLUURF" and must read in a monkey voice, then a robot voice, per the instructions. Only a few words per page in different colors and type size add to the fun, including the giant red name of a hippo: "BOO BOO BUTT." The reader must sing and make all kinds of silly sounds, too. The book ends with the narrator telling the reader, "Next time, please please please please please choose a book with pictures. Please? Because this is just too ridiculous to read." And then he throws in one more red "BONK."
Is it any good?
Author B.J. Novak hilariously proves his point: that a book with only words can be as amusing and engaging as one with images. THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES is super silly and very clever as it panders to young kids' love of funny sounds, made-up words, and undignified words such as "butt."
Novak's comic timing is impeccable, his tone light. Kids will delight in seeing their parents or teachers compelled to say ridiculous things such as, "Yes, I am a monkey" and "my head is made of blueberry pizza." This radical non-picture book goes a long way toward fostering a love of reading -- robot voice optional.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teh silly words and noises in The Book with No Pictures. What's so funny about them?
Are you now convinced that a book without pictures can be as fun as a book that has pictures? How about a book that has pictures but no words?
What do you think about a narrator speaking directly to you, the reader? Does that help make the story funnier?
For kids who love picture books and funny stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.