No Reading Allowed: The Worst Read-Aloud Ever
Author: Raj Haldar
Illustrator: Bryce Gladfelter
Ages: 4-8 years old (to Adult)
This is a clever, fun book that took the premise way further than I expected. However: I would build some parental explaining time into your read. This is the kind of book where your kids get more from it as they grow and learn.
If you are fond of language and word play, and want to teach your kids an appreciation for the funky melting pot that is the English language, this book is for you. The premise is all laid out in the extremely long — but descriptive — book title:
No Reading Allowed: The Worst Read-Aloud Book Ever*
*A confusing collection of hilarious homonyms and sound-alike sentences.
This is a clever, fun book that took the premise way further than I expected. However: I would build some parental explaining time into your read. This is the kind of book where your kids get more from it as they grow and learn. It may be a fun read for a 5 year old who will just think the sentences read over in juxtaposition are funny, but the book will gain traction and humor for an 8-9 year old as the meanings become clearer and the attention-span longer.
The meanings of the homonyms are presented in a series of lively, colorful illustrations. Illustrator Bryce Gladfelter builds in a few funny surprises for parents and sharp-eyed kids, while using a mixture of diverse people and anthropomorphized animals/creatures to depict a wide-ranging set of circumstances. The choices are at times usefully convention-bending (women miners, a friar-on-the-range), and kids will see themselves and their friends well-represented.
The structure of the book — that the sentences/phrases sound alike — is both its strength and occasionally its weakness. As the authors explain at the end of their glossary: to achieve the form, they sometimes diverge from the grammar. They engage in a popular pastime of turning nouns into verbs – “mustard” for “putting mustard on things,” “marooned” for “making a creature purple,” etc. It’s worthwhile to let these grammatical lapses go and enjoy the book. How else would we get the new word, “Tapired” (which I will not spoil for you here)?
And while I’ve mentioned it: they include a glossary! I love a good glossary, and it’s a great intro to kids of a concept that will serve them well in later life: if you don’t understand it, look it up.
Ages: 4-adult – Even more fun for an older kid who is in on the jokes, while having enough goofiness and charm to keep little kids with you most of the way through.
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
Emily is a mom, a book-lover, a lawyer, and has been fascinated by politics and theater from a very young age. The mom part has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding of her pursuits, and it has justified the reading and re-reading of ever-so-many kid books over the last 14 years. Emily cares way more about government policy than most regular people, and has been known to watch C-span on-purpose for long periods of time. Also, she has opinions. Far too many opinions for a girl, as she has frequently been told, to no avail.
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