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Pamela PaulFull of mischief, the book's simple line drawings open up a world of imagination, humor and interactivity that make it a superb introduction to children's literature.
—The New York Times
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 McClellandCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Posted February 27, 2012
You know how young children will sometimes receive a super amazing fantastic gift and proceed to derive much more enjoyment from the cardboard box the gift came in? Well, according to Antoinette Portis' 2006 book Not a Box, young rabbits do that to. (So do cats, but that is neither here nor there.)
There are a lot of reasons I enjoy this book, the first of which is because of its design. The book looks like a box (even though it's not). The cover is made of brown-cardboard-feeling paper. The weight (11.5 ounces) is clearly marked on the front, while the back notes which side is up. The cardboard theme understandably continues in the book's interior.
The structure is the same throughout, so I'm just going to go through the first one:
Brown lefthand page reading: "Why are you sitting in a box?"
Righthand page: black and white drawing of a young rabbit sitting in a box.
Turn the page.
Red lefthand page: "It's not a box."
Righthand page: color (red, black, yellow and white) illustration of the young rabbit driving a race car.
The same scenario is repeated several times until the clever ending.
At first I had thought that this book would be a hard sell for a read-aloud because, well, there isn't a lot to read. However, after discussing the book with "Tori" I came to a different conclusion. Tori suggested that the book would work better in a more non-traditional storytime where the kids get in on the act. Ask the kids what they see in each picture, let them describe the story. If the children are older, you could also ask them to find the "original" box in each of the rabbits imagined scenarios.
The book would also work well in a one-on-one reading between parents and their own children, which is the scenario I had initially imagined for this book. I like the story because it's simple with nice drawings that children can clearly interpret thanks to the thick lines and limited palette. Also, since most children do enjoy a good cardboard box, it's likely that they'll be intrigued by the rabbit's scenarios and perhaps find ideas for their own playtime.
I'm not the only one that enjoyed this book. In 2007, Not a Box was selected as a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. The award was established in 2006 for the author and illustrator who annually make "the most distinguished contribution to beginning reader books."
The fun continues in with a piglet in Not a Stick.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2011
Posted July 15, 2013
First of all, I love the "packaging" of this book. The cover looks like a parcel -- so cute and so clever.
Then there is the rabbit. "Not a Box" has drawn comparisons to "Harold and the Purple Crayon", another very good, buy-worthy book, but in some ways I prefer this book. Because of the rabbit. The rabbit is drawn in that deceptively simple way (rather like Mo Willems' pigeon), is nameless and gender-neutral. Any child can relate to the rabbit.
When my son was about a year and a half, he began to empty all the toys out of his toy box (and scatter the toys ALL over the family room floor) and then try to climb into the empty toy box. For his safety and my sanity, I had to move his toy box and set up an empty box in it's place. Now he climbs into the empty box. I remember doing this when I was very young. See, any child can relate to a rabbit with an imagination and an empty box.
The story and illustrations are easy-to-follow, toddler-simple. This book works great for story time with a large group of children, or story time with just one child.
Posted December 17, 2011
Book is a bit bland and abstract for our 2 year old. We figured since it was a board book the subject would be interesting to children. Perhaps later in the year.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 1, 2011
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Posted March 11, 2010
I Also Recommend:
It's not a box is a great story to challenge children to really "think outside the box" and is great for those full of imagination. If you or a little kid you know has pointed out that their mashed potatoes look like mountains and that broccoli is just a little tree, your kid will like this. It's fun book to read again and again too to practice having kids make predictions and to fill in the blank as you read slowly. This book will also encourage imaginative play for children because it gives them ideas as to what they can do with simple objects around the house.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2010
Posted May 16, 2009
Posted March 16, 2009
The kids LOVE it! The concept is interesting and it sparks a lot of discussino with my 2 & 3 yr olds. They want to to read it over and over and tell me what the box is this time!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2009
Posted March 3, 2009
Posted November 27, 2007
I bought this book for all my nieces and nephews and hope that this holiday season when they tire of their presents, they use the power of imagination and their empty gift boxes to transport themselves to wherever their fancy takes them. A wonderful book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2008
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Posted February 23, 2011
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