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5.0 9
by Alice McLerran, Barbara Cooney (Illustrator)

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Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come


Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.

In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran's treasured land of Roxaboxen — a place that really was, and, once you've been there, always is.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 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

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.87(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.00(d)
AD710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Alice McLerran was an "Army brat" and moved every year or so — from Hawaii to Germany, from New York to Ecuador.

She still leads a gypsy life, traveling the world with her physicist husband and dividing time between their home in New York and their "dacha" in the mountains of Oregon. She's happy to visit schools anywhere! The McLerran cat, Shuwa, prefers to stay home.

"Children often ask me how I started being a writer, and I tell them: by loving stories. My mother made up stories at bedtime, and my grandmother was a story-teller as well. I always read, and read, and read. I think most writers do. One bit of luck, I think, was that from the first I wrote for others. Over the years I made countless poems and little books as gifts. When you write for real readers, of course you want to do your best."

Barbara Cooney is one of the most well-loved authors and illustrators of children's books today. She has won many awards for her books, including the American Book Award and two Caldecott Medals for Illustration. Ms. Cooney lives in Damariscotta, Maine.

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Roxaboxen 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lilia49 More than 1 year ago
When I was in elementry school...about first grade...Mrs. Marian Doan came to our class and read Roxaboxen to us. She told us it was her story and that she was the little girl in the book. I loved every minute of it! A couple years ago (I'm 28 now) I searched for it online but couldnt find it. So glad Barns and Noble carries it. It is a treasure that i will keep for my children. Such a sweet and fun book. Great example of the imagination us kids growing up in the dessert tend to have ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the BEST children's book ever!i grew up reading this book and making rocksaboxen in my back yard.i highly recommend this book for any age group.buy it your kids will love and so will you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first grade teacher read this to our class and it has been my favorite ever since! I am now almost 19 years old, and every once in a while I will still take out the copy I made my mother by me to flip threw the pages. This is a great book and will encourage children to use their imaginations more than the Nick Jr. shows they have ever will!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My children had me read this to them about four times the first day (we had checked it out from the library). And during the week we kept it, I read it many more times, as well as them looking at it independently. One of my children will be receiving this as a birthday present, and I know he will be excited about it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK im 13 years old... im still in love with this book... when i was little, they discontinued the book for a while so i borrowed it from a teacher in first grade and copied it... i found my copy last night and i typed it up and now i plan to buy this great book, now that i know i can still buy it!!! im soo happy i can buy it still, this book brings back my happiest childhood memories!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
for children to learn about using their imaginations and to remind adults about when they did! This is a *really* good book and very nicely illustrated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My children ages 7,5 and 2 all love 'Roxaboxen'. It is a charming story with beautiful illustrations.Even 'grown ups ' will love it. We can all rememember a place like Roxaboboxen and remember the joys of make believe.