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The Secret Box (Lehman, Barbara) Hardcover – March 21, 2011

6 customer reviews

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The Secret Box (Lehman, Barbara) + Museum Trip + The Red Book (Caldecott Honor Book)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review



Photos from Barbara Lehman, author of The Secret Box
(Click to Enlarge)

This is the box that inspired the story idea. It is about a hundred years old. I like to work on layers of tracing paper when I am in the drawing stage. I often tape different parts of drawings together so I can move elements around. I use traditional drafting tools. This triangle on a moveable parallel rule makes the straight lines on this building.

The coloring is easier and goes much faster than all the drawing. I do the final illustrations the same size as you see in the books. I did many small roughs to work out the look for the jacket art. Here is what all the art looked like when I delivered it to my publisher!


From Booklist

Lehman adds to her collection of surreal picture-book adventures, which began with the Caldecott Honor Book The Red Book (2004), in this wordless, time-travel fantasy. In an opening scene, a young boy dressed in knickers hides a box under the wooden floorboards in his school dormitory. In subsequent spreads, the scenes pan out to set the time and place: a small farming community filled with steam-engine trains and horse-drawn wagons. Gradually, new buildings fill the landscape, and horses give way to cars. At the center of each view is the school, and in a modern-day interior image, a group of kids discovers the long-ago student's box, which includes a treasure map. Following the route and obscure clues, the young people find their way through a tunnel to a magical boardwalk, where multicultural kids from multiple generations (indicated by their old-fashioned clothing) have fun. Children may be puzzled by the obscure, open ending, but as usual, Lehman's clean-lined, highly detailed artwork creates an ingenious visual puzzle that invites repeated viewings and flights of imagination. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Lehman, Barbara
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547238681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547238685
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Lehman has illustrated many books for children. Born in Chicago, Barbara attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she earned a BFA in communication design. A full-time illustrator, Barbara says, "Books and art have always held the strongest attraction for me. I have always felt drawn to commercial art' because of its ability to reach many people. I like the idea of being part of the media in a meaningful and thoughtful way, especially with children as the audience." She now lives in Philmont, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mary Liz on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I do not agree with the reviewers that stated the story is creepy...we did not find it to be. I thought it was a wonderful story about connection with the past, common dreams of children having a fun, safe, and exciting adventure, and a little mystery found kind of experience. I loved the illustrations, their detail, and coloring. The idea that children are children no matter what year it is...the theme of children through the ages all want the same thing...dreams come true of fun and hope and something better than we can ourselves imagine. How in the world is that creepy? Without any words, it is due to your interpretation to embrace the charm of this sweet book. I want to donate a copy of it to our school library, for I feel this book is a gem.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Catherine W. Hughes on April 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Three children at a school find a box, a time capsule in time, left by a student from long ago. Looking through its contents, matching photos and maps, they discover an underground path to a seaside carnival: Seahorse Pier. Children ages 3-6 will have fun following this wordless adventure through time and space, connecting past and present.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen Bellnier on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoy Lehman's books.
The beautiful images and narrative presentation is lovely.
We loved the Rainstorm.

However, her stories have a slightly dark feel to them (only slightly, and maybe just my interpretation).
This one seems to focus on children living in a group home of some kind escaping to a wonderland of the pier fair.
That said, our child has enjoyed the book and will likely find a place for it on her reading list off and on for many years.
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