The Book About Nothing
The Book About Nothing
Publisher's Hardcover15.29
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Annotation: Explains that a cookie jar that seems empty, a floor after toys have been put away, and the strange noise in the middle of the night all demonstrate nothing.
Catalog Number: #153356
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Murphy, Hugh
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-399-55109-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-399-55109-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017037967
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In this book, which purports "even nothing is something," a monocled dodo gives a lengthy list of what the book is not about. There will be no rainbows, canoes, or underpants. What there will be, the dodo says, is "nothing": an empty cookie jar (although he doesn't equate empty with nothing), a cleaned room (nothing on the floor), a flushed toilet, what you wear when exiting a bathtub. Several of the points could be argued e bathing hippo is wearing a shower cap, which is not nothing, and there's water in a flushed toilet t the dodo makes his point, as illogical as it may seem. Nothing really is something. Sparsely illustrated with minimalist line drawings against stark white or, in a few cases, boldly colored backgrounds, and with words appearing only on some pages, this initially seems to be aimed at fans of B. J. Novak's The Book with No Pictures (2014). However, the humor here lies in the illustrations: the bathing hippo, a skunk leaving the bathroom stinky, and so on. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Horn Book
After insisting that this book is about "nothing," an omniscient narrator riffs about, yes, nothing with the help of various animals. (For instance, to illustrate "chock-full of nothing," mice munch on cookies outside an empty jar.) Interactive humor (including the bathroom variety) abounds. The art, created with rudimentary lines and set against white space, looks as if nothing (much) went into it.
Kirkus Reviews
Here's a book that takes nothing seriously. The opening pages explicitly list all the things that it is not about: rainbows, socks, meatballs, doctors, tacos, princesses, and underpants are on that list. Instead, it sets out to explore the concept of nothing. The narrator is depicted as a dodo wearing a monocle, and its tone is that of an adult talking to a small child. Almost all the pages have something child readers and adult caregivers can relate to, from picking up toys ("there will be nothing on the floor") and finishing meals ("there will be nothing left") to noises in the dark (don't worry—it's nothing!). Bender (Awkward Family Photos, 2010) and Murphy's (T-Rex Trying, 2014) picture book elicits a chuckle, and the predominantly black and white images with bold splashes of color are at times endearing. Line-drawn cartoon animals, fairly realistically rendered save for the anthropomorphic props, pose in appropriately negative space, occasional details (the dodo's yellow bill and feet, an anteater's red-and-white-checked neckerchief, a crocodile's purple pajamas) picked out in bright, matte color. However, although it constantly and positively reframes nothing as something, the picture book leaves readers wondering whether "nothing" can always ethically be equated to a thing of value.Reading this book might not be for nothing…but it begs the question: is nothing really something? And more importantly, is (doing/being/saying) nothing always OK? (Picture book. 3-6)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 A book, quite literally, about nothing. The conceit is maintained from the endpapers (they are filled with nothing words like: zot, naught, zip, nil, zilch, nada, diddly squat ) to the author bio: "Nothing really inspired him to write this book." Fans of B.J. Novak's The Book With No Pictures will be glad to see another inspired breaking of the fourth wall, though the "even nothing is something" concept here is quite a bit more complex (not to mention, arguably false), jumping headfirst off the edge of logic that the well-known "Something from Nothing" tale teeters so precariously on. A variety of fonts in different sizes and colors as well as creative word placement assist readers and highlight Bender's quirky sense of humor. A riff more than a story arc that builds to a climax, the biggest laughs will likely come from the underwear and poop bits. Murphy's black line drawings on mostly white pages are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein's style. A minimalist splash of color here and there complement the purposely overstated text and indicate that the book is intended for a more sophisticated audienceextending its reach beyond that of a typical picture book. VERDICT A fun and clever concept book for storytime and language classrooms. Hillary Perelyubskiy, Los Angeles Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal (1/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
ALA Booklist (12/1/17)
Word Count: 399
Reading Level: 2.7
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 196719 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD550L
Guided Reading Level: L
Fountas & Pinnell: L

Fans of The Book with No Pictures and A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will enjoy this innovative and wildly funny read-aloud from the adult humor bestselling authors of Awkward Family Photos and T-Rex Trying.
This book has nothing to do with rainbows, rocket ships, meatballs, or wizards. Instead, it’s full of zip, zilch, diddly-squat, bupkus.
But don’t worry, reading this book isn’t all for nothing, because sometimes nothing is actually something.

Like if you pick up all the toys in your room, what will be on the floor? NOTHING.
When you take a bath, what are you wearing? NOTHING.
And when you shut the lights off to go to bed, what do you see? NOTHING.
Mike Bender and Hugh Murphy stop at nothing to explore the key concepts of nothing and zero using playful language and hilarious illustrations.

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