The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak is without question one of my all time favourites! It might not seem like much fun reading a book that has no pictures, however this story never ceases to surprise and delight.
It begins by introducing the idea that books don’t need pictures to be fun and interesting because the way that books work, is that the person MUST read every single word that is written… ALL of them… EXACTLY as they’re written… EVEN if they say ‘gurklewocker’ or ‘shlip shlerp’ or ‘chrirpieblerpypop.
The book very quickly descends from the relative order of ordinary black text on white pages, to a full two page spread of outrageous and colorful text in a range of sizes, shapes and styles, exploding off of the page and into the ears of those listening!
Each word is a different size, shape and colour, making them very easy to pronounce but very difficult not laugh at. As you can see in the video below, no two children read the book in the same way:
The Book With No Pictures is best suited for children aged three to four years old, although older children would also enjoy reading the story. Here are some ideas on how to use this book with your child:
- Point to the words as you read them, talk about how the way the word is written make you say it a particular way, for example small words are read in a quiet voice while BOLD WORDS ARE READ IN A BIG LOUD VOICE.
- Encourage your child to point to each word with you and copy the word after you, this helps to build awareness of left-to-right scanning which is important for reading and the idea of what a sound is, what a letter is, what a word is, and what a sentence is.
- Does your child have a favourite part of the book? Or a favourite word in the book? Is your child’s favourite part or word the same as yours or different?
- Ask another family member to read the book to the child, talk with your child about the idea that you’re playing a little trick because YOU know the book is very silly and funny, but that the person you’re asking to read next doesn’t know!
- You can further explore Theory of Mind by talking about how the family member reading the book for the first time might when they realise that they have to read EVERY. SINGLE. WORD! Will they like the book? What will their favourite part or word be? Have a guess and ask them as the end to see if you’re right!
- Make up a book with no pictures yourself, come up with some silly words together and write them down using different colours, shapes, sizes and styles of lettering to reflect the way you think the word would be said.
- Make up a silly word and draw a picture of what the word means to you. This is a great way to develop and challenge you imagination. Could a ‘shlerplewocker’ be a giant flying pancake – who knows!
Have you read this book? Did you do something different that you and your child really enjoyed? Leave a comment below and add to the list.
If you haven’t read this book, please do me a favor and ask your therapist to read you ‘The Book with No Pictures’ next time you’re at your local centre (but don’t tell them your heard about it from me!)
Until next month, happy reading!
BLooP (I didn’t want to write that!)
Jenna Golab – Speech Pathologist, Listening & Spoken Language Specialist