A picture book with no pictures? What the heck is that about? Even the cover is plain.
But you know what? This book is total genius. Because the adult reader has to say a lot of silly things simply because they are written down. Stuck on a roller coaster of reading, the adult has to spout out nonsense, sing randomly and even heap praise on the kids listening:
When my kids realised that I had to do this – that I had no choice about what I was reading – they thought it was hilarious. So hilarious in fact that the first time I read it to them, I then had to read it another 11 times (at which point I felt the need for a small lie down and a large cup of tea).
This is the book the kids want me to read again and again, and their excitement has only increased from knowing what is to come.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of (gentle) parent humiliation. Kids have to put up with us being in charge and making the rules – and for once, the situation is out of our hands. In fact, my kids love this concept so much that they are currently writing their own version. I’ll let you know how that goes (if I don’t end up in hospital. I’ve never stood on my head before, let alone done that and recited a stream of crazy words…there may have to be a strict editing process before I read it).
Every primary school teacher should know about this – it makes a fabulous class reader. And I would say that every parent should get a copy. But there’s a small hesitation here. If you are like me – into performing picture books and perfectly happy to look silly – then this book is for you. However, I’m well aware that there are parents out there too shy or self-conscious to do so. So my other suggestion is Bang by Leo Timmers.
The only text is the word ‘bang’ which crops up on most spreads. This could get quite wearing from a grown up point of view – but not if you get the kids to say it. And they love saying it. Or rather shouting it which the text seems to draw you into doing as it increases in size.
This book involves a steady stream of vehicles that eventually get piled up in one of those long spreads that children love to open. The line of vehicles is reminiscent of the beloved TV show Wacky Races, of which my kids are huge fans (I know how to raise them right). We also instinctively put different engine noises in, building up more and more each time. It’s great fun – and if you’re a bit exhausted from reading The Book With No Pictures, all you have to do is turn the pages…whilst possibly planning your OWN book with no pictures. Mine starts with ‘The mother of the children reading this book is truly amazing. And you could make her happy by eating your vegetables rather than hiding them under your plate – yes, I you do that. And you know that thing you do when you pretend to wash your hands by running the tap and hanging around in the bathroom for a couple of minutes? I know about that too.’
That’s a different sort of book I grant you. Obviously I wouldn’t really create such a book….