Booklist Review

“Best known for his work on TV’s The Office, Novak follows his adult short-story collection (One More Thing, 2014) with a picture book—well, sort of. There’s, like, no pictures. That’s the whole idea. But Novak has isolated a curious truth about picture books: the person reading the book aloud is obligated to say what’s on the page. No exceptions. Thus commences what is basically a one-character stand-up routine where the one reading aloud must struggle against increasingly silly demands. “I am a monkey who taught myself to read,” insists the simple black-on-white text. Then, in smaller text, “Hey! I’m not a monkey!” Color and font changes are introduced as the demands upon the speaker become more infuriating: “And my head is made of blueberry pizza.” You see where this is going: humiliating songs, declarations that the kid listening is the “best kid ever,” and a two-page spread of rude noises. Sure, it’s one joke, but it’s a great one, and kids will adore adults who commit to the ridiculous performance.”