The Book with No Pictures (B.J. Novak)

(great for 2, 3 year-olds and up)

I love it, my 3.5 year old loves it, even my 2 year old loves it.

As long as you’re an adult who can have a good sense of humor about reading lines like “My head is made of blueberry pizza,” it’s hard to go wrong.

Yes, it’s one long-running-meta-ish joke about being a nonsense book that’s all about “tricking” adults into saying their best friend’s a hippo named “boo boo butt” and yes, it may get old hearing your children repeat certain lines from the book, but even despite that, I think it’s a huge win.

This is the book we hand to our friends when they visit. It’s the only book that can reliably tear my toddlers away from the legos almost instantaneously. It’s one where the adults can’t help but make funny voices (to match the funny, nonsensical words), and it really is a must-have.


What to Read, What Not to Read: Julia Quinn


Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue: Quinn’s ability to write witty banter is truly amazing. Whether she’s having her characters invent and argue over imaginary words or laughing at debutantes who think that “inclement” weather means weather “in Clement” she’s just fun, and entertaining. When the dialogue works, it truly sparkles, with back-and-forth quickness that carries you along.

The Un-pretty Heroine: While none of Quinn’s heroines are described as being ugly, Quinn’s best protagonists are pretty, or comely-enough, without being the belle of the ball. They’re women you’d have a good time hanging out with, who feel real and interesting and not overly-dramatic.

Connected Worlds: Quinn’s great at creating characters that are memorable, and that float from book to book. Lady Whistledown’s writings hold many of the Bridgertons books together (and were kind of a brilliant invention), but there are also details like the Smythe-Smith musicals (which start as a joke and later become their own spin-off series) and, of course, Lady Danbury. When you read a Quinn book, you know that you’re stepping firmly into her universe, and that we’ll be revisiting many familiar landmarks.

Good, Lighthearted Fun: With Quinn, you rarely have any dangerous kidnappings (meaning even when there are kidnappings, or highway robberies, nothing ever feels truly dangerous in a someone-might-die way), or terrible villains. Instead, you have people who might be nice or not nice, and might or might not mean well, but basically, you have semi-villains alongside your heros and heroines. There are quick, light, escapist reads and you don’t really have to worry that something terrible is lurking around the corner.

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