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Read This Book If You Don't Want a Story (Hardcover)

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Mr. Book With No Story wants his pages uncluttered by pictures and plot lines, but images, questions, and ideas keep invading the unruly pages he is trying to police, ignoring his efforts to chase them away.

Mr. Book is determined to share nothing with readers, but his pages have other ideas.

It turns out that Mr. Book’s big fear is having nothing worthwhile to say, but in this fun, zany tribute to the creative process, he needn’t have worried. The bumbling blowhard of the first page inspires empathy and affection by the time the last page chimes in. The messages are simple: Stories are fun, and all of us can tell them.

About the Author

Richard B. Phillips wrote the screenplays for the award-winning feature film Eden (2014, starring Beau Bridges) and the horror film Buckout Road (2017, starring Danny Glover). He has also written the animation series for the Korean comic book hero Kimchi Warrior and cultural programs for PBS. His six-year-old daughter challenged him to write a book about a book, and Read This Book If You Don’t Want a Story is the result.

Eric Zelz (Bangor, ME) is a designer, illustrator, and educator who enjoys travel and hiking with his family. Eric’s illustration, design, and journalistic work has been recognized by organizations including the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Society of News Design. He is the illustrator of Pass The Pandowdy, Please and Read This Book If You Don’t Want A Story, and shares his work at

Praise For…

What did you like about the book? This book was so much fun to read -- it would be excellent to read aloud for a story time, especially with animated voices.  The “story” in the book is basically a book (called Book) that does not want a story. Book explains that there will be no rockets, dogs, pirates, elves, or any other things typically associated with children’s stories. This rant goes on until Page 6 interrupts (that’s right, Page 6 is now talking to Book). Page 6 would like to see a story but Book continues on with all the things we will not see in this book including cyclists on high wires, roller-skating llamas and happily ever afters. Soon, Page 11, Page 12, Page 13, and many other pages chime in and feel Book is being unreasonable. Now comes the point in the “story” where the pages ask the reader to help. First, the reader is asked to give the book a hug to make Book feel better, then to shake the book so the words come out of Book.You can see where this is going -- eventually a story is created.  It is such a fun book to share with young children, especially because they can be involved.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Starred Review

— Kristin Guay, former youth librarian

..."The Book With No Story" opens with a scenery-chewing tally of what not to expect: "I'll show you no pictures, no scares and no thrills, / no cows on trapezes, no fish with big gills, / no polar bears on snowboards, no quacking duck bills…." This list is interrupted at, literally, every turn by argumentative page numbers and a burgeoning cast of characters…led by a huge polar bear. Book's stubborn refusal to cooperate only lasts until the chorus invites a diverse squad of young readers to join in a group bear hug, then a hearty shake that gets the creative juices flowing. Though in his mix of verse and prose Phillips isn't much for regular cadences, he does have a way with quick, galloping rhyme. He also strews this meta-tale with enticing story starters ("Once upon a time, Prince Pork Chop Lover discovered that Princess Leaping Pickle had been kidnapped by a Giant Woolly Tundra Snail") and closes with words of encouragement to all young storysmiths: "Imagine a poem. / Imagine a play. / But don't ever imagine / you have nothing to say."

— Read This Book If You Don't Want a Story

Product Details
ISBN: 9780884487050
ISBN-10: 0884487059
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
Pages: 36
Language: English