Illustrated Books: “The Book with No Pictures,” “Hello Lighthouse,” and “Spot & Dot”

I read these three picture books for the OWLs readathon back in April. It had been a while since I’d read a picture book and since I had one out from the library and many unread on my bookshelves, I decided to give in and read some of my favorite types of books.

These three are very different from each other. Spot & Dot is a wordless picture book and the second in a series, while The Book With No Pictures has nothing but words. However, Hello Lighthouse is like your typical picture book that uses both pictures and words to tell the story.


The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Genre:

Children Humor

Pubbed:

2014

Goodreads summary:

At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share — and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Of the three, The Book with No Pictures is my absolute favorite. Oh my gosh! It’s charming, it’s simple, it’s funny. It was a delight to read and is even more fun when read aloud. I didn’t have anyone to read aloud to, so I read aloud to myself. 😥

Anyway, I had a great time with this book. It makes the reader say the silliest things, lol. Kids will certainly get a kick out of it. I don’t think it’d work well as a bedtime read. I don’t see how anyone can go to sleep after the fun in this book, but it’s certainly one I think both parents and kids will enjoy and can laugh at together.

Art style:

It doesn’t have pictures so why am I writing about the art style? Well, I just want to discuss the simple aesthetic of the book, which is what drew my interest to it. Basically (you know what’s coming), I like the cover. 🙂

As you can see, it’s a simple white cover with the title on it in black. There’s nothing special about it, but that’s why it stands out in the kids’ section of a bookstore. It seems to be a mute point in the cacophony of colors. The simple cover always catches my eye. I always pick up the book and consider buying it until (years later) I finally did.

The cover’s simple style is continued throughout the book. Despite its lack of color and illustrations, it’s just as engaging and fun a read as any other picture book.

Overall: ★★★★★

Of course I gave it 5 stars! 😀

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Yes! Buy it! Read it!


Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall (illus.)

Genre:

Children Historical Fiction

Pubbed:

2018

Goodreads summary:

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by.

Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a lighthouse keeper or to live in a lighthouse? Blackall’s picture book Hello Lighthouse could give you an idea. The book is about a lighthouse’s last keeper. We see this keeper arrive to replace the old one and we observe his life at the lighthouse: maintaining it, making notes in his log book, rescuing sailors, receiving supplies, having his wife arrive, and seeing his family begin to grow.

It was an informative read for me because I know nothing about lighthouses or lighthouse keepers. Frankly, I’ve never wondered about them much other than the few times I considered drawing one or visiting one (if possible) to see if the rooms really are circular and to find out how the light works. In addition to the story, Blackall shares some facts at the end about lighthouses, which I found really interesting. Here are the bits that really stood out to me:

  • “Often families lived together on lighthouses; some had as many as eleven children.”
  • “Hundreds of women served as lighthouse keepers. Some replaced a husband or father, but many were appointed for the job.”
  • “If the lighthouse was built on a rock or ledge, it wasn’t possible for the tender to come too close. A small boat might be used to row ashore, or, if the sea was too rough, a winch was used to haul supplies and visitors from the deck of the tender to the lighthouse on a bosun’s chair.
    • The tender is a ship that brings supplies to the lighthouse.
    • In the book, we get to see someone being transported to the lighthouse using the winch system.
Art style:

I love it! 😊 I love the cover. It’s another picture book that I often saw in bookstores and took forever to purchase. I guess picture books are my guilty pleasure reads or purchases. I’m always wondering what’s the point of me purchasing and reading them since I don’t have any kids. But they are such fun! It’s always the illustrations that get me.

In addition to the cover illustration, the colors also appealed to me (I love the blues) and the typography used for the title (I like the hints of gold). I loved the illustrations throughout, especially of the ever-changing sea. I love the colors used for it and the textures added for the waves and the movement of the water.

I wonder what medium is used to illustrated this book. I really wish the artist or the publisher would mention this detail in the book. I assume Blackall used paint, maybe acrylic paint…? I’m just curious. Whatever she used, she managed to create something beautiful that I enjoyed reading.

Overall: ★★★★★

I highly recommend it and I also consider it a favorite. It won the 2019 Caldecott Medal for its illustrations (which I’m happy for but I don’t like that they placed the big sticker on the front of my book).

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

It’s worth it.


Spot & Dot by Henry Cole (illus.)

Genre:

Children Contemporary

Series:

Spot the Cat (book 2)

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

In Henry Cole’s vivid wordless picture book Spot, the Cat, readers joined Spot on a journey through a city that began with him following a bird outside his window.

This time, a dog named Dot draws Spot from his window. As we follow Spot and Dot on their wordless journey, we quickly realize that it’s Dot the dog who is missing this time, and Spot is trying to get her back home. We follow these two on a different journey through the city as they weave in and out of a bakery, a library, a busy park, and more. And with a surprise twist at the end, we realize that “home” for both cat and dog was never very far away.

With detailed black-and-white illustrations, readers will love following Spot and Dot on their adventure and cheering for the sweet reunion at the end. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I enjoy reading Cole’s books. Spot the Cat, the first book, was fun and so too is Spot & Dot. In this one, a girl moves to the area with her pet dog, who goes missing. Spot’s owner helps the girl create posters and search for the dog, Dot, while Spot conducts its own search. As we follow Spot following Dot, we get a tour of city the story is set in, which I imagine is Washington, D.C.

It’s a fun story with great illustrations. I think of it as almost like those “Find Waldo” games because I enjoy trying to find where Spot and Dot are in each scene, especially ones that have many people and a lot of movement. In that way, this picture book can almost become an activity book.

Art style:

I love it. I love illustrations of buildings, so I’m always drawn to these books because of that. Cole’s illustrations are detailed and precise. I believe they are done with pencil. Hatch marks are used to add gradation and texture.

The buildings are my favorite feature. It takes me a little while to work through these books because I keep peering closely at the details on the buildings, on the row houses. Looking at them makes me itch to draw some houses.

Overall: ★★★★☆

It’s a fun story that can become an activity as the reader tries to find Spot and Dot in busy scenes. A good one to pick up.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I borrowed this one from the library, but I bought the first book, Spot the Cat, and am glad I did.

15 thoughts on “Illustrated Books: “The Book with No Pictures,” “Hello Lighthouse,” and “Spot & Dot”

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