The Book with No Pictures

B.J. Novak. Dial, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4171-3
Actor Novak’s expert sense of comic timing is on full display in his first picture book, which, true to its title, only contains words on a white background. Different font types, sizes, and colors signal important changes in tone and voice to whomever is reading the story aloud (and the book’s jokes rely on a readaloud setting). “It might seem like no fun to have someone read you a book with no pictures,” Novak writes early in the book, his words set in a black serif font that all but demands a serious, James Earl Jones–style voice-over. Then the kicker: “Here is how books work. Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what.” Cue sound effects (“BLUURF”) and nonsense statements (“I am a monkey who taught myself to read”) designed to make a laughingstock of the adult reader while keeping children howling, even as the reader’s “voice” lodges its protests (“Wait a second—is this whole book a trick?”). A strong first showing for Novak that’s sure to deliver big laughs. Ages 4–8. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/30/2014
Release date: 09/30/2014
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