Big Brown Box

Overview

It's a big brown box! Or maybe it's a house with windows and a door. Or a cozy, dark cave. Or a ship on the ocean. But whatever it is, Sam's box is no place for baby brother Ben.

There's BIG trouble brewing over the big brown box...until Mama finds a solution that's a perfect fit for everyone.

Children's Books 2000-NY Public Lib.

As he plays in a very large box in his room and turns it into a ...

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Overview

It's a big brown box! Or maybe it's a house with windows and a door. Or a cozy, dark cave. Or a ship on the ocean. But whatever it is, Sam's box is no place for baby brother Ben.

There's BIG trouble brewing over the big brown box...until Mama finds a solution that's a perfect fit for everyone.

Children's Books 2000-NY Public Lib.

As he plays in a very large box in his room and turns it into a house, then a cave, then a boat, Sam is reluctant to let his little brother Ben join him, but then he finds the perfect way for them to share.

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Editorial Reviews

Hazel Rochman
Russo's bright, watercolor pictures dramatize how both kids feel. To baby brother Ben, Sam is the guy with everything. To big brother Sam, Ben is the spoiler- a big bad wolf, a scary bear, a vicious shark. Your child will enjoy the funny and poignant exchanges between siblings, and the happy ending in which Mom gives Ben a box of his own.
Sesame Street Magazine
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Daddy gives Sam the big brown box the washing machine came in, and Sam makes a house out of it. When brother Ben comes, Sam says, "Gow away!" Ben says, "Me, too!" But Sam pushes him out. All Mama's pleading to let Ben visit, "Just for a few minutes," get the same "no, no, no," until, after the box is a cave and a boat, Mama gives Ben his own smaller box. Then Sam sees they're jet fighters, and they fly off on adventures and return "just in time for lunch." This clever book's color is corrugated-box-brown, against which the full-color gouache pictures leap out to engage the reader. Dealing with the complexities of sibling rivalry and sharing, the story never once mentions either. Even more marvelous, the parents do not coerce sharing but accept Sam's "No" without didactic preaching. Winner of the I.R.A. Children's Book Award and an old hand at creating picture books, Marisabina Russo deals with the tangles of family life with confidence and brio. 2000, Greenwillow Books, Ages 3 to 6, $15.95. Reviewer: Nancy Tilly—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Sam's favorite toy is a big cardboard box that he imaginatively turns into a house, a cave, and a boat. His little brother Ben wants to join in the fun but his pleas of "Me too" are flatly refused: "You are the big bad wolf.-Leave my house alone!" "You are a scary, hairy bear, and bears don't belong in my cave." "You are a vicious silver shark, and you will eat me if I let you in." When Mama finds a smaller box for Ben, Sam has a new idea and the two brothers become astronauts, each in his own spaceship. The well-paced, child-centered text is complemented by Russo's trademark two-dimensional gouache illustrations that realistically capture the creative play of children. Young readers will relate to the sibling conflict and the resolution warmly encourages cooperation. A lovely addition to all collections.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Russo (Mama Who Talks Too Much, 1999, etc) draws from family experience again for this domestic contretemps. Despite tears and parental pleas, Sam refuses to let little brother Ben join him in his washing machine box/house/cave/ship. Leave it to Mama to provide a solution satisfactory to all: another, smaller box placed alongside. Opposite text pages printed on fields of light, boxlike brown, Russo creates tidy, uncomplicated, graphic-style scenes of adults and children whose easily-read expressions map the story's emotional ups and downs. In the end, sharing a scenario in their individual spaces, both children happily blast off in their cardboard rockets to the Moon. Would that all such tempests would end so amicably. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688170967
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 290L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

From the time I could hold a pencil, I loved to draw. My mother was a single parent who worked full time, and my brothers were much older than I was. It seemed like I spent a lot of time alone. Drawing and, later, writing kept me company.

I was very shy. My mother was always introducing me to little girls who lived in our apartment building in Queens, New York. I became good friends with one girl named Roberta, whose mother was an artist. When they moved to a house a few blocks away, Roberta's mother set up a studio in the attic and gave art lessons. I went with them to sketch in the park. We took the subway into Manhattan to visit museums. I knew I wanted to be an artist.

In the sixth grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank and decided to keep a journal. I keep one to this day. In the seventh grade I started writing short stories. I had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Rothenberg, who encouraged me to write. My first published story appeared in the junior high school literary magazine.

While I dreamed of going to art school, my mother steered me to a liberal arts college, Mount Holyoke. Being a studio art major there was a bit outside the mainstream and, later, having a Mount Holyoke degree didn't open any doors when I began searching for work as an illustrator. But I did get a tremendous education, which serves me well every day of my life.

My early illustration jobs were for magazines, eventually for The New Yorker. I got my first book illustrating job (a cookbook) when I was pregnant with my first child. Other books followed, and two more children. It was only after my third baby was born that an illustrator friend arranged for me to meet Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow. He had to really push me to make the appointment because I was pretty much consumed with motherhood (and exhausted!) The Line Up Book was my first picture book. My son Sam was obsessed with lining up objects all over our house, and that had been my inspiration.

The stories I write usually happen that way. My children say or do something that sticks in my mind. Or I remember something from my own childhood. I mull it over and over and expand it and come up with a story. The initial idea is usually the easy part, but giving it shape, rhythm, and a climax is much more difficult. Painting the pictures is the most fun of all.

There is no other job I would want. Every day when I sit down to work in my studio—which is a bedroom in my house—I feel very lucky and very happy.

From the time I could hold a pencil, I loved to draw. My mother was a single parent who worked full time, and my brothers were much older than I was. It seemed like I spent a lot of time alone. Drawing and, later, writing kept me company.

I was very shy. My mother was always introducing me to little girls who lived in our apartment building in Queens, New York. I became good friends with one girl named Roberta, whose mother was an artist. When they moved to a house a few blocks away, Roberta's mother set up a studio in the attic and gave art lessons. I went with them to sketch in the park. We took the subway into Manhattan to visit museums. I knew I wanted to be an artist.

In the sixth grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank and decided to keep a journal. I keep one to this day. In the seventh grade I started writing short stories. I had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Rothenberg, who encouraged me to write. My first published story appeared in the junior high school literary magazine.

While I dreamed of going to art school, my mother steered me to a liberal arts college, Mount Holyoke. Being a studio art major there was a bit outside the mainstream and, later, having a Mount Holyoke degree didn't open any doors when I began searching for work as an illustrator. But I did get a tremendous education, which serves me well every day of my life.

My early illustration jobs were for magazines, eventually for The New Yorker. I got my first book illustrating job (a cookbook) when I was pregnant with my first child. Other books followed, and two more children. It was only after my third baby was born that an illustrator friend arranged for me to meet Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow. He had to really push me to make the appointment because I was pretty much consumed with motherhood (and exhausted!) The Line Up Book was my first picture book. My son Sam was obsessed with lining up objects all over our house, and that had been my inspiration.

The stories I write usually happen that way. My children say or do something that sticks in my mind. Or I remember something from my own childhood. I mull it over and over and expand it and come up with a story. The initial idea is usually the easy part, but giving it shape, rhythm, and a climax is much more difficult. Painting the pictures is the most fun of all.

There is no other job I would want. Every day when I sit down to work in my studio—which is a bedroom in my house—I feel very lucky and very happy.

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