BJ Novak, who most of you know as Ryan from The Office, came out with a children’s book today called The Book with No Pictures.

It’s a children’s book with no pictures (as the smart people reading probably already surmised) which might make most parents skeptical it will hold their child’s interest.

I know I was skeptical.

I was sent an early copy about a week ago and decided to test it out on Mazzy.

ME: Mazzy, I got you a new book.

MAZZY: Yay! Let me see it!

I showed her the plain black and white cover with bold serif font.


The disappointment was palpable.

ME: It’s called “The Book with No Pictures”.

MAZZY: NO PICTURES??? That doesn’t sound like a very good book.

She was skeptical too.

ME: I know the writer and he’s pretty funny, so let’s give it a shot.

(I don’t really know the writer.)

MAZZY: Oh-kaaaaaay.

That’s her eyerolling begrudging voice. Can you hear it?

We sat down to read the book, Mazzy on one knee and Harlow on the other. It took about four pages for it to click, but by page seven, Mazzy was intrigued (probably because her mother had just shouted the word “BLORK”) and by page ten, she burst out laughing. Harlow started laughing too. I’m not sure if she was trying to match her sister’s enthusiasm or she genuinely got the absurdity of the book. After all, at that point I was talking like a robot monkey.

We’re not talking giggles. We’re talking BIG LAUGHTER. Guffaws, even. (Can a four-year-old girl and her baby sister guffaw? Yes, yes they can.) It was almost like Mazzy and Harlow were having a competition to see who could laugh loudest.

The Book with No Pictures is one of those books that puts emphasis on certain words so you have no choice but to read it correctly and with great animation. By the time I was done, I was like— WOW. I am really a MASTER with children! I had no idea!

Actually, it’s just BJ Novak who is kind of a genius and made an awesomely original children’s book.

Mazzy immediately made me read it again.


Harlow wanted me to read it “agame”- that’s how she says “again”.


We read it three more times before I finally said, alright enough. We’ll read it again tomorrow.

ME: Alright enough, we’ll read it again tomorrow.

You really have to hear it to appreciate it, so here’s a video of BJ Novak reading it to a room full of kindergarten students through second graders.

I highly suggest everyone buy The Book with No Pictures, if you are looking for new reading material for your kids. But if you have something against buying books, I’m also doing a giveaway for a signed copy.

All you have to do is follow Mommy Shorts on facebook (or for the facebook averse, subscribe to my newsletter) and leave a comment below with a totally random sentence that would be sure to make your kids laugh.

Something like….

“My best friend is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt”.

The winner will be selected randomly and announced on Friday, October 10th.

Maybe we can convince BJ Novak to read the winner’s comment out loud.

(Probably not, but wouldn’t that be awesome?)

UPDATE: Congratulations to Gia! “Mr. Poo Poo Head will be coming to dinner” as soon as you shoot me an email ( to claim your prize.


This is not sponsored. I just really like the book.