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Not a Box Hardcover – December 12, 2006
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—In bold, unornamented line drawings of a rabbit and a box, the author-illustrator offers a paean to the time-honored imaginative play of young children who can turn a cardboard box into whatever their creativity can conjure. Through a series of paired questions and answers, the rabbit is queried about why he is sitting in, standing on, spraying, or wearing a box. Each time, he insists, "It's not a box!" and the opposite page reveals the many things a small child's pretending can make of one: a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a robot. One important caveat: the younger end of the intended audience is both literal and concrete in their approach to this material. The box itself, drawn as a one-dimensional rectangle, will be perceived by preschoolers to be flat and not readily understood as three-dimensional. Furthermore, those children are likely to interpret the "box's" transformation to be "magic," while five- and six-year-olds are able to make the cognitive conversion from flat rectangle to three-dimensional box and to understand that the transformation has been made by the rabbit's own imagination. Both audiences will enjoy the participatory aspect of identifying each of the rabbit's new inventions. Knowledgeable adults will bring along a large box to aid in understanding and to encourage even more ideas and play.—Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wrapped in basic, grocery-bag-brown paper, this streamlined book visualizes a child's imagined games. "Why are you sitting in a box?" reads the opening page, opposite an image of a small rabbit, drawn in the simplest, unshaded lines, who appears next to a square. "It's not a box," reads the text, presumably in the rabbit's defiant voice, on the next page, and equally simple red lines overlay the black-lined rabbit and box to show a speeding roadster. In the following spreads, the questioner (a clueless adult?) continues to ask about the rabbit's plans, while the little voice answers with the book's protest of a title. This owes a large debt to Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955). And as in Johnson's classic, the spare, streamlined design and the visual messages about imagination's power will easily draw young children, who will recognize their own flights of fantasy. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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What a wonderful and imaginative story. Prefect for his grade level too. One line repetition though out the book.
He was VERY excited about this book.... Lots of discussion while being read to.
I remember the lure of a box, especially those wonderfully long refridgerator sized boxes. This book evokes that magic of the imagination. Even the cover of the book mimics it. It is brown paper with no dust jacket, on the front it proclaims in weight in oz. On the back a red arrow points out "this end up".
As the story opens and the reader flips through the publication and title page, a small bunny spots and tugs away a box that it has found. Now we see the bunny sitting quietly within his treasure as someone (perhaps the reader) asks, "Why are sitting in a box?"
A turn of the page and it's the same bunny in the same box, but now red lines have appeared around them to sketch out a fabulous racing car.
The opposite page is now bright red and at the bottom of it sit the words, "It's not a box."
Turn the page and now the bunny is standing on top of the box.
When asked why, the red lines have turned the box into an alpine peak with the bunny at the crest of the summit. "It's not a box.”
Grade Level: Preschool - 1
Board book: 28 pages
Publisher: HarperFestival; Brdbk edition (September 27, 2011)
Also, you know how kids go through phases where they want you to read a book about 20-100 times in a row? This book is great for that. It's not annoying, it's cute, and easy and I love it so much.
I use it with story time and with my grandchildren. Ask your local appliance store to save some of their large appliance boxes, grab some children and this book, then have a fun afternoon seeing what you can create out of boxes.