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Roxaboxen Hardcover – April 22, 1991

4.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roxaboxen celebrates the imagination of children who, no matter the time or place, can create whole worlds out of what they find around them--here, rocks and boxes, cacti and sand. Marian and her friends find a "special place" in the desert where in time-honored fashion, they play the games that will prepare them for their grown-up lives. They make houses, drive pretend cars, bake bread, ride stick ponies, fight their wars and bury their dead. Drawn from her mother's reminiscences, McLerran's gentle text is both particular and universal, as she fondly tells this evocative story--"Of course, if you broke the speed limit you had to go to jail. The jail had cactus on the floor to make it uncomfortable, and Jamie was the policeman." With its gently rolling terrain, blossoming ocotillos and cacti, and vast skies of ever-changing hues, Cooney's ( Hattie and the Wild Waves ; Island Boy ) desert is a wondrous and beauteous place. The doll-like children in their knickers and sailor dresses emphasize the timelessness of this place where "seasons changed, and the years went by but Roxaboxen was always there." Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- This treasure of a story is about magic--the ordinary magic that every child understands: imagination. It is also a story about a treasured place: a child's imaginary town named Roxaboxen. The rules are simple: you make them up as you go along according to the whim of the day or the personality of the residents. In Roxaboxen, "Marian was mayor, of course; that was just the way she was. Nobody minded." The rules don't even have to be consistent--as long as they make sense. Speeding was not allowed by car but "ah, if you had a horse, you could go as fast as the wind . . . All you needed for a horse was a stick and some kind of bridle." With a true child's voice, McLerran uses just the right phrase or word to make the town and its residents spring clearly off the page. Cooney's brightly colored illustrations done in her classic and recognizable style etch the town and its inhabitants indelibly on the page as well as in the mind's eye. Her soft, personable little figures give the town and its story just the right feeling. This book celebrates how children and their imaginations make fanciful things become magically real and make them last forever. Don't miss it. --Jane Marino, White Plains Pub. Lib., NY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (April 22, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688075924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688075927
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sallie Stephens on May 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! It reminds me of summer, when mom had to beg us kids to come inside after a long day of imaginary play in our 'pine-tree village'. What fun we had creating homes, shops, schools, using rocks, pinecones and anything else we could find to make our little village like home. This book is so similar I could just eat it up! It tells the tale (a true one at that) of a group of children who create their own village with rocks and boxes (get it? Roxaboxen?). The thing I love about this book are the illustrations---simple, yet beautiful, and of course the wonderful story of how the children used their imagination and creativity to create a timeless adventure. In this day of gameboys and computer games, this book is a refreshing change of pace. My four year old loves this book as much as I do, and we can't wait to create our own Roxaboxen this summer. Buy this book for your kids...or yourself! You won't regret it!
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Format: Paperback
This was my absolute favorite book as a child: I loved imagining the world of Roxaboxen as the children who 'lived' there did and I loved creating my own Roxaboxens in my world. Alice McLerran's kids taught me how to make my own places and times and adventures in my own universe. The entire book was so beautiful that I still smile whenever I see kid's books and remember my favorite or when someone asks me what my favorite book from childhood was.
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Format: Paperback
There are eight characters in this story; Marian, Anna May, Frances, Jean, Charles, Eleanor, Jamie, and Paul. Marian, who likes to take charge, named a rocky hill, Roxaboxen. It was really just stones and sand with some wooden boxes, but the children made it their special place. That had round black pebbles that they used for money. They made a street called Main Street first. Everyone made their houses out of white stones. They used the wooden boxes for tables or anything else you wanted. They would also try to find pottery to use as dishes.
As time went by, they made a town hall. Marian named herself the mayor, which no one mined, just as long as they were having fun. They also added more streets as time went on. With bits of sea-green, amber, and amethyst, Frances made herself a new house. The children decided to have a bakery and ice cream stands. Jean and Anna May ran the bakery and Paul and Eleanor had ice cream stands. They also have a jail if you are caught speeding with your car. If you had a horse, you could go as fast as you wanted.
They had a war; boys against the girls. If you reached your fort, you were safe. Roxaboxen also had a cemetery. They only had one animal in it, which was a lizard. Roxaboxen was always there for them, even if it was the winter when nobody went. Then they got older and moved away. Did anyone come back to visit Roxaboxen? Is Roxaboxen still there? Read the book to find out. Ilove this book because when I was younger I loved to imagin things like this. My friends and I did things similar to this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Roxaboxen is a lovely story about a childhood playground created by the author's mother, her mother's siblings and her mother's friends.
While children will enjoy the pictures and may get some great ideas for building their own Roxaboxen "town", adult readers are the ones who will truly treasure this story. Its sweet nostalgic look at childhood is a catalyst for our own stories and memories to return. Cooney's pictures are appropriate and enjoyable but subdued.
Overall, a nice memorial to the real Roxaboxen and its residents.
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Format: Hardcover
Roxaboxen will allow adults to relive their childhood experiences, while allowing chilren to expand their imagination. Children will realize that their imaginary friend or place is a wonderful memory.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lot of fun. A book about a little imaginary town the children of a neighborhood make using the stones, sticks and odds and ends they find in the lot near their homes. Reminiscent of watching my children play over the years with all kinds of nature, making imaginary games as children do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My daughter and I did not like this book. It reads like a forced narrative with no empathy or connection to the characters. I also did not like the details about a "war' and free money. I wish I had read the reviews before ordering. I usually do read them but Marian is my daughter's name and I was hooked.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a real classic. If you are looking for a way to inspire your children to play more creatively outside (or inside), this book is a good one. I love the illustrations, the wording, the story. I'm a big fan of Barbara Cooney.
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