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The Book With No Pictures

20 Nov

Here’s another book I’ve been dying to read! The concept of a picture book without pictures was intriguing to say the least. Then I saw the excerpt of B.J. Novak reading from his book to a room full of children had me sold on the idea. Watch here for yourself.


The Book With No Pictures written by B.J. Novak (2014)

B.J. Novak has written a picture book with no pictures brilliantly! This is a perfect read-aloud book. He begins by letting the reader know there are no pictures, but the upside is that the reader must read every single word in the book exactly as written. Now, the listening child gets to hear the adult reader saying things like ‘I am a monkey who taught myself to read’ and ‘My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt’. The reader must sing, use silly voices, and read nonsense words all because they are written in the book. In addition to using words like ‘ridiculous’ and ‘preposterous’, the reader must play into the fun of reading with their child.

I think my favorite page is the middle spread. “…and also, the kid I’m reading this book to is THE BEST KID EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENTIRE WORLD…” Now who wouldn’t want to hear this every time the book gets read to them? No one I know!

Get yourself a copy of this book and share it with ‘the best kid ever in the history of the entire world’!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

20 Nov

How many of you have been looking forward to reading this book as much as I have?


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (2014)

 Sam and Dave decide to dig a hole one day. They take their shovels, a canteen of chocolate milk, and a kerchief of animal crackers. They plan on digging until they find something spectacular. They leave their house and proceed to dig next to a small apple tree. Their trusty dog goes with them. They never do find anything spectacular, but they do end up digging completely through the earth and falling back home through the sky.

Mac Barnett has given substance to the childhood belief that you can dig a hole to the other side of the world.

Jon Klassen shows us just how close they actually come to finding spectacular things in the ground before they change directions and eventually give up. It’s their dog who senses what lies buried in the dirt and digs them through to the end. Look carefully at the first and last pictures to see just how different their home is from the beginning to the end of the story.

I love the creativity of the story. It works so well in both text and illustrations. The irony of how close the boys are to discovering something spectacular under the ground is not lost on young readers. And the dog’s persistence is the catalyst which propels them to a new place. Have they actually reached the opposite side of the world where things look familiar, but have very different details?

The Purple Kangaroo

29 Aug


The Purple Kangaroo written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Peter Brown (2009)

Before I go on, let me just state right up front, that I first heard about this book through the video book trailer below. Take a minute and watch it before you read the rest of this post, you won’t be sorry.

See! I was right wasn’t I? Now you just have to read the book too… I did! The monkey is a clairvoyant primate who not only can read your mind, he can do it again. And he doesn’t stop with just the ‘purple kangaroo’, he also gives you exact details as to what the purple kangaroo is doing. In the video, Michael Ian Black gives the reader some of the details the monkey provides, but not all. To find out all of the details of the purple kangaroo, his best friend – the wild-eyed chinchilla Señor Ernesto de Pantalones, and the pilot Admiral Margarita Flowerpuffer, you’ll have to pick up a copy of the book and be amazed as the mind-reading monkey reads your mind too!

Michael Ian Black has ‘super secret, highly unusual, incredible, amazing, and slightly alarming magical powers’ himself. He can entertain and astonish readers of all ages with the simple turn of a page.

Peter Brown has ‘super secret, highly unusual, incredible, amazing, and slightly alarming magical powers’ as well. He has the ability to picture exactly what you are thinking and furthermore can illustrate your mind’s picture on the pages of the book.

I love the combination of text and artwork in this picture book. The ‘joke’ is clever and complete. And I’m pretty sure even the youngest readers will ‘get it’.


8 Jul

18490605Ninja! written and illustrated by Arree Chung (2014)

Maxwell is a ninja! He ties one of his father’s neckties around his head and gets silent ninja footwear, a ninja stick (pool stick), sticky ninja gloves (rubber dishpan gloves), a ninja rope (jumprope) and a ninja paddle (toy paddleball). Properly dressed, Maxwell sneaks out find his target (napping father) and executes a perfect ninja surprise! His next mission is to capture cookies and milk from his little sister. But he is dishonored when his little sister tries leaping from the chair to the countertop and falls on her bottom releasing a blood curdling scream that only little sister can manage. His only recourse is to teach his baby sister the way of the ninja!

Arree Chung delivers a ninja perfect picture book. There is action, comedy, and suspense in the antics of Maxwell the ninja. His illustrations draw the reader directly into the story with detailed sub-blocks of ninja activity.

I can totally see any ninja-wannabe falling head over heels for this book. Its fast-paced imaginative play makes the reader feel like they are right there with Maxwell, sharing in his triumphs, defeat, and ultimate resurgence.

Here is a little book trailer for your enjoyment… tell me you can watch this and not want to rush right out and get the book!

Nino Wrestles the World

5 May


Nino Wrestles the World

written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales has written and illustrated a story about a boy (nino) who imagines himself to be an unstoppable wrestler. Wearing only his underwear and a mask over his head, Nino battles a mummy, an alien, a devil, and a stone head. No one can defeat Nino until… oh no! His sister’s nap time is over and Nino must do battle with them. His little sisters (las hermanitas) climb all over Nino tickling him. In the end Nino decides that if he can’t beat them, he should join them!

This is a lovely story of imagination and sibling relationships. It is written in a mix of english and spanish words, giving a true authentic flavor to the storytelling. It’s a great read aloud because there is so much page-turning action. And if you would like to hear it read aloud by the author herself, click on the youtube video below.

Rechenka’s Eggs

19 Apr

Decorating eggs is a very old tradition dating back thousands of years, even before the time of Christ. Early Christians adopted the custom of decorating eggs at Eastertime to represent the resurrection and the new life within the egg. The tradition of decorating and giving eggs to others at Easter continues today.

Today, I would like to share with you one of my favorite story picture books, Rechenka’s Eggs written by one of my all time favorite storytellers, Patricia Polacco.


Rechenka’s Eggs is the story of an old woman, Babushka, who paints the best Easter Eggs in her village. Every year, Babushka takes her eggs to Moscow for the Easter Festival and every year she wins first prize. One day, Babushka sees a goose shot from the sky by a hunter. She rushes to save the goose. She brings it home and names it Rechenka. Rechenka sleeps in a basket filled with Babushka’s warmest quilt until she is well again. To repay Babushka’s kindness, Rechenka lays an egg for breakfast every morning. But one day, Rechenka flies up on Babushka’s worktable and knocks down the basket of painted eggs breaking them into a million pieces. The next morning, when Babushka goes to the basket to collect her egg for breakfast, she finds the ‘most brilliantly colored egg she had ever seen’. When it comes time to go to Moscow, Babushka leaves Rechenka to return to the wild and takes Rechenka’s eggs to the Easter Festival where everyone is amazed at the wonderful eggs she has brought. Babushka wins first prize and a feather quilt to take home. She goes to bed alone that night under her new quilt, and in the morning Babushka finds that Rechenka had left her one last gift, a glorious egg in her basket, one that is different from all the others. From the egg a gosling hatches. And this baby goose remained with Babushka always.

In the Ukraine, where Patricia Polacco’s grandparents lived, the decorated egg is called a pysanky. She learned this method of decorating eggs using a special waxing tool and dye from her grandmother. This is the method used in her book Rechenka’s Eggs which is featured in the Reading Rainbow episode I have attached at the end of this post. In this episode, Patricia Polacco demonstrates how to decorate eggs the way her grandmother taught her. And she shares her grandmother’s words, “As long as a pysanky is being painted somewhere in the world, the world will never end.”

You can see the whole episode here.


The Napping House

10 Mar


I thought I’d celebrate Napping Day today with an old favorite, The Napping House  written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood.  I love the rhythm and repetition of the text.  Audrey Wood is a master with words!  You can’t beat it…

‘And on that granny there is a child, a dreaming child on a snoring granny, on a cozy bed, in a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.’

And of course, the illustrations are not only playful but beautiful.  Don Wood captures the exact feeling of the story.  Watch how the light changes as the napping begins and as everyone wakes up from their naps.

Here is a fun video of the book being read aloud.  Enjoy your nap today!

Napping Day was founded by Boston University professor William Anthony and his wife Camille in 1999.  Napping Day is the unofficial holiday to help people adjust to Daylight Saving Time.  It is always the Monday after we ‘spring forward’ losing an hour of sleep the night before.  It was established to  promote health and productivity.  Studies show that regular napping can reduce the risk of death from heart related problems.  However, a 2009 study in the UK indicated that naps could increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Yikes!  My advice – take a nap and control other risks for diabetes!


Room on the Broom

5 Mar

Watch the British animated film based on the well-known and well-loved children’s picture book, Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Scheffler.


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