From the first days of learning to read we acquire some basic rules: read left to right, top to bottom, exactly what’s on the page. We leave creativity and inventiveness to the illustrator. Agreed?
B J Novak’s The Book With No Pictures pokes gentle fun at the idea that reading just reciting the printed word, by taking the pictures out completely. Instead it gives room for the reader and audience to play with that assumption. After establishing the “rules” of reading a book, the reader is then stuck calling himself a monkey, speaking in silly robot voices, and repeating nonsense words, to the great delight of the listeners.
It’s super fun for all ages, and can prompt some thought-provoking discussions about what reading a book is all about. Teachers – and especially those interviewing for teaching posts – have been snapping it up for building literacy lessons around it, but you can just have a good laugh with this one, no matter how many times you read it.
(For a glance at the magic in action, you can catch videos of the author reading to audiences’ great delight on YouTube.)