Books About Words

The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak has certainly been responsible for a great number of laugh-out-loud moments these past couple of weeks.  It's a book that is meant to be read aloud and in contrast to the wonderful wordless books I shared, it's story comes from the play on words and words alone. 


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The Book with No Pictures has been added to most people's shopping baskets recently but what other books are about words and how they work to bring meaning to a story?  Visit http://youclevermonkey.com to read more.


If you haven't already seen it, this short clip will explain why I ordered my copy straight after viewing it.




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But how many other picture books rely on words rather than illustrations to bring meaning to the story? Here's a few picture books about words that I've used:

The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is about a tree of letters who lived a happy life hopping from leaf to leaf until one windy day when some of them were blown away.  With some friendly advice, they realise that if they join together and make words, they can be incredibly powerful.

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nicola O'Byrne is a very funny book.  We like to try and match each page to other books it reminds us of.  The story starts as a telling of The Ugly Duckling but something is there that shouldn't be (like The Wrong Book).  It's a very large crocodile - a really big scary one! And very soon, he's eating his favourite letters right off the page!  My five year old loves this book and like The Book with No Pictures, it's meant to be read aloud.


Perhaps no-one uses different fonts and positions words for greatest effect better than Lauren Child and her book, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? is a perfect example of this. We love this book! It's about a boy called Herb who goes to sleep on a book of fairy tales and falls into the story - straight into the bedroom of the three bears. After running from the shrieking Goldilocks, Herb eventually escapes the book by using the text as a ladder. He grabs hold of the letters, scrabbles up the sentences, stepping on the words to climb out of the book. 


Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is another book as you can probably guess that borrows heavily from a well known fairy tale (I love fractured fairy tales as much as alphabet books).  In this telling, Little Red along with the rest of her classmates are tasked with writing a story.  It's a better book for older students who are more familiar with the different parts of speech as the book includes references to nouns, adjectives, verbs, conjunctions (or their overuse), adverbs.  Punctuation, onomatopoeia and sentence structure also get a mention.  It's fun comic book layout will also appeal to older readers.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld do funny books really well (remember Duck! Rabbit!) and their book, Exclamation Mark, is another book that uses the features of text well to bring meaning to the story.  Perfect for teaching grammar, Exclamation Mark follows the story of ! as he tries very hard to fit in until he realises that he is important. The illustrations are simple but so appealing and humorous especially to readers in the junior school learning about punctuation.






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What other books can you think of that use words as part of the story?  I'd love to hear your suggestions.

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19 comments

  1. What a great list! I love books without words too! Thank you for writing such detailed reviews! These books are definitely worth investing in! Pinned!

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    1. Thank you Anastasia. Some of them are certainly amongst our most read at home too :)

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  2. Thank you! So helpful. Adding more to the Christmas list now, LOL.

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    1. You and I both need to stop including books in our posts as I bought the art book you had in your art space a couple of days ago ;)

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  3. I have to tell you how much I LOVE Exclamation Mark! What a perfect way to turn kids on to punctuation!

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    1. I think so to Rebecca! Thanks for visiting :)

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  4. Thanks so much for this Nichole, i have some new ones to explore and always like to read some reviews from people who work with kids before i actually buy ;)

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    1. I'm the same Jodie. I always love the suggestions made by My Little Bookcase. I bought several from their suggestions. Honey Bee Books shares a nightly read on Instagram too that is a lovely mix of old and new books. Thanks for your comment :)

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  5. Great list. Thanks so much for that. I'd heard of that book as well and now I also want to own it. Pinned :D

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  6. Update: I have just ordered and paid for it. It's on preorder so I'll have to wait though! haha.

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    1. Not too long to wait though :) Glad you enjoyed my post.

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  7. I love, love, love that read aloud video. I watched it with my kids and they were mesmerized :) Thanks for sharing this awesome collection, pinned it :)

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    1. My kids love that clip too! And that's why we had to buy our own copy ;) Thanks for your comment.

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  8. Such a great list of books! Thank you :)

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    1. Thanks Suzie :) I'm glad you found it of some use.

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  9. What a great collection of books. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Kate and thanks for taking the time to comment :)

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  10. Ooh, lots that I haven't seen before, thanks! Loved the clip - the kids were enthralled!

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    1. My pleasure Danya! He is a very entertaining reader isn't he?

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