The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
More than anything else, I wish I thought of this idea first. A picture book with no pictures is probably the only children’s story I could write due to my lack of artistic ability. Even so, it is fine that B.J. Novak thought of it before me; I was very impressed with how he used this concept. I incorrectly assumed there would be some sort of abstract art in the book: shapes, splotches, splashes of color. This book really is true to the title; it is only words. Nothing else. The words alone convey action in ways I rarely see in picture books. The physical words change fonts, styles, sizes and colors. Sound effects and nonsense words are cleverly utilized. The words contain a back and forth conversation, and it is clear who is speaking each time even though the narrators are never defined. This book, to my complete surprise, is one of the best children’s books I ever read. I hope to read it many times again.
Warning: Do Not Open This Book! / Please, Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt
It seemed unfit to review Warning: Do Not Open This Book! without exploring the story’s continuation with Please, Open This Book!, so here is a double review. Both are interactive books that expect and engage in reader responses. In Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, monkeys are the main mischief bringers and the narrator hopes for the reader to trap the animals and end their chaos. In Please, Open This Book!, the same chaotic animals hope to entice the reader into undoing the work of the previous book. Every inch of each book is part of the story; even the front and back covers aid in sharing the story. Creativity and inventive storytelling is a must for good children’s books, and this pair of books covers those elements.
Inside This Book (Are Three Books) by Barney Saltzberg
Inside This Book (Are Three Books) literally has three individual books – and not just three separate stories, either. Many books, even for children, compile multiple stories. This one contains the work of three children, with handmade books of varying sizes that were combined to make the book I am discussing right now. The illustrations and storytelling are appropriate for age levels of the assumed authors. For a creative idea, and an interactive experience, this book is a good selection.