The Book with No PicturesThe Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

on the one hand, i am not necessarily the most qualified person to judge this book. i don’t have children, work with children, have family members who are children, or go near children, so i will never use this book as it is intended – to read aloud to children.

on the other hand, i do like a bunch of children’s books, even though i am an old lady, but mostly because of the PICTURES. i like cute things.

and as far as this book’s mission statement goes, it’s noble – to teach kids that books don’t need pictures to be fun, and to instill a love for and curiosity about books.

from an interview:

I like the idea that this might be the first book-without-pictures that some children experience, and that it could open their eyes and inspire them to wonder what might be in all those other books without pictures.

i get that.

however, i think a book whose main appeal is to make adults say things like GLUURR GA-WOCKO MA GRUMPH-A-DOO for the delight of its chubby, sticky audience might be an indication that the child may perhaps be too young for dostoevsky. kids young enough to giggle at that are probably kids who’d enjoy a picture or two, and why wrest them from childhood before they need to be wrested??

but don’t shout, i know this is an option, not a replacement for books with pictures. and i still understand and appreciate what he’s trying to do here.

There is something special and distinct about the time when a book is read to you. The whole idea of a book is still new and exciting, and the experience is about the bond between the adult and the child just as much as it is between the child and the book. I thought it would be fun to find a twist on that experience: what if the book and the child “teamed up” to force the adult to say silly things? It could be a whole new way to introduce children to the idea of what a book can do.

yeah, yeah, i hear you. it’s a nice idea.

but the cynic in me can’t help but pipe up and say, dude. because while a lot of celebrity-types have written children’s books, even celebrities i personally happen to enjoy in their day jobs, it always seems so … easy. and pandering. and cheap.

and occasionally horrifying:

and while i know some of them are good, here’s this guy who just wrote a book of short stories for adults that many trusted sources called “surprisingly good” and “better than james franco.” and now he’s coming out with this book that can’t even be bothered to have pictures, even just shitty pictures like this:

so, yeah – i see what you’re trying here, and on the one hand i totally support your enthusiasm, but i just think you have to establish more book-cred before you cop-out with a kid’s book. which, again, is coming from cynical lady with no kid-experience who still thinks this book has its heart in the right place, but didn’t do anything for me.

which is fine, since i am not the audience for it anyhow.

oh, and russell brand has a children’s book coming out in the fall.

buy one million copies of this book without pictures before buying russell brand’s book for your children, because i’m pretty sure you can get many exotic venereal diseases just by reading words that came from that dude’s brain.

oh, what the hell – i’ll give this three stars cats instead of two because at least russell brand didn’t write it.

read my reviews on goodreads

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