The Book With No Pictures

9780803741713_p0_v2_s192x300If you ever need a book to read aloud – to a group of children, to a grandchild, to yourself on a crummy day – B.J.Novak’s The Book With No Pictures is the one.

“Here is how books work,” the hidden narrator confides. “Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what.” The (presumably adult) reader is made to sing, emit nonsense sounds, praise the child who is being read to, and say things like “I am a monkey who taught myself to read.”

The book uses words to create effect with no illustrations – not one.  Some of the crazy words remind me of Lily Tomlin’s wild chanting in “Grace and Frankie” – not the kind of sounds usually coming out of a book – but fun to enunciate.  Read it out loud and laugh at yourself.

The Man in the Moon

Do you believe?

William Joyce, famous for his animated films like “Toy Story,” invites you to begin a journey into the “Guardians of Childhood,” with The Man in the Moon –  the first in a series that will include later books with  other familiar childhood friends – Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny.

Joyce tells the story like an old fable with the hero, MiM, or the Man in the Moon, who hides from Pitch, the King of Nightmares.  The details are rich with excitement – planets that are plundered, stars extinguished, airships diverted – but Joyce’s illustrations are even better.  Full page illustrations jump off the page with energizing color and whimsical graphics – Jules Verne rocket ships, telescopes, robots, the Moon Clipper.  You can almost taste the lunar ice cream and space juice nectarine.

In the end, the Man in the Moon becomes a nightlight to scare away bad dreams because

“This growing up is a tricky business.”

The Man in the Moon is beautiful – worth getting, if just to look at the pictures.