The Nowhere Box

Overview

Could George’s escape from his pesky brothers be a bit too successful? An ode to imagination —and annoying but indispensable siblings.

George’s little brothers wreck his toys and his games and trail after him wherever he goes. Try as he might, there’s just no hiding from them. George has had enough! So he commandeers an empty washing machine box and goes to the one place his brothers can’t follow: Nowhere. Nowhere is amazing! It’s magnificent! It’s also, however, free of pirates...

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Overview

Could George’s escape from his pesky brothers be a bit too successful? An ode to imagination —and annoying but indispensable siblings.

George’s little brothers wreck his toys and his games and trail after him wherever he goes. Try as he might, there’s just no hiding from them. George has had enough! So he commandeers an empty washing machine box and goes to the one place his brothers can’t follow: Nowhere. Nowhere is amazing! It’s magnificent! It’s also, however, free of pirates and dragons and . . . well, anyone at all. From exciting new talent Sam Zuppardi comes an all-too-relatable story of an older brother who knows when he needs his space — and when he needs his siblings — played out in charmingly offbeat illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
Even in our screen-dominant age, the arrival of a big cardboard box can still be momentous for a kid. For George, a washing machine box with hand-drawn button controls becomes a combination transporter, transmogrifier, and (most important) a refuge from his bratty younger brothers—until, of course, he realizes their value as playmates. Making his picture book debut, Zuppardi, whose exuberantly scrawled pencil line and variegated palette is reminiscent of David Shannon, finds a rich source of inspiration in cardboard, painting and manipulating it to create George’s pretend adventures. A ride on a scream-worthy rollercoaster made from looped and twisted cardboard leads to a rocket ship zooming through a mini-galaxy, which in turn becomes a swashbuckling scene on the high seas, with spirals of corrugated material forming the cresting, churning waves. Although the text doesn’t come close to the originality of the visuals (“Nowhere was amazing! Nowhere was magnificent! Nowhere was stupendous!”), readers probably won’t notice. They’ll be too busy asking their grownups, “Don’t we need a new refrigerator or something?” Ages 4–8. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Zuppardi’s art, done in mixed media, is the perfect complement to a tale about young boys and imagination. His rough, sketchy style..., bright palette and prominent use of cut, torn and colored cardboard gives readers a kid’s perspective and makes it seem as if this truly is the siblings’ story. ... George shows readers how imagination (and a few simple household items) can transport them to another world…and the ties that will bring them home.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The natural cycle of an older brother's exasperation, longing for solitude and eventual return to the cheery noise of his brothers plays out in a funny fashion in Sam Zuppardi's 'The Nowhere Box'... The young reader will cheer for George but also feel a pang for the boys he left behind. ... [An] exuberantly illustrated picture book.
—The Wall Street Journal

George’s plight will be familiar to kids dealing with exasperating brothers and sisters or a budding sense of introversion, and his isolationist escapism is treated both gently and enthusiastically. Zuppardi’s untidy illustrations in acrylic and pencil are kid-inspired with their scratchy, repeated outlines and thick, unevenly applied coloration; cardboard is used in the presentation of George’s imagined worlds in Nowhere, giving the pictures a rough, three-dimensional whimsy and providing a clever nod to the box itself. George—whose red striped shirt and boxy imagination are reminiscent of Watterson’s Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes in iconicity if not in nature—and his brothers are little more than glorified stick figures with huge heads, yet just a few facial details allows them to be strikingly expressive. Bound to appeal to a wide range of kids because of its celebration of both collaborative and solitary play, this could be used in a storytime about siblings or imagination...
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
George thought his two little brothers were a nuisance. They were always following him and he had had enough. When a new washing machine is delivered to their house, George discovers the best hiding place. His imagination soars and he creates his own little world within that big box. He travels to “Nowhere,” and imaginatively sails on a pirate ship, among other things. He soon realizes that there are no enemy pirates or dragons there, but he knows just where to find some. He climbs out of the box and greets his little brothers but he does not give his secret away. When they ask where he had been, he responds, “Oh, nowhere.” Zuppardi cleverly uses two styles of illustration. Where George interacts with his little brothers, they are full-color childlike drawings with roughly drawn graphite outlines. George’s imaginative world is presented in collage in which corrugated cardboard plays an integral role. Great attention was given to the design of the book, which is almost square (like a box). The book jacket and the board covers of the book are two different designs. The front of the jacket shows George coming out of the box. The board cover of the book shows George’s designs on the corrugated cardboard box and a large black arrow points the way to open the book and enter the story. The endpapers take the reader from George’s annoyance to his delight with his siblings. A box is still the perfect item for imaginative play. Sibling relationships, imaginative play, one’s need for space and time alone, are all smoothly integrated. Creative in text, illustration, and design, it is highly recommended for both library and home collections. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo; Ages 3 to 7.
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—George has a little brother and an "even littler brother" and the tension with his siblings-which starts on the endpapers-is mounting. One of the little guys inadvertently knocks down his castle while the other derails his train. "George had had enough," and readers can see his frustration etched in a penciled scribble above his grimaced teeth while he tries to hide from their omnipresence. As they chase him in pursuit of play, they ask where he's going and he cries out, "Nowhere! And you can't follow me!" The artwork is sophisticated in its two-dimensional, contoured comic style as well as in the materials it utilizes. Speech bubbles made with notebook paper and torn cardboard pieces create painted collages full of movement and texture. Scratchy, heavy pencil lines balanced with bold and thin acrylic paint create richly expressive characters. When George finds the washing-machine box, he creates a getaway machine and travels to "Nowhere." He expresses his zeal with a flood of adjectives, yet despite his initial glee, he remembers the home button he drew on the dashboard. The discovery of the need for playing together balanced with the need to be alone and the role of the imagination in navigating these important social poles speaks to kids of a variety of ages. Pair this story with Matthew Cordell's Another Brother (Feiwel & Friends, 2012).—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-01
Annoying siblings drive an imaginative young boy to "Nowhere," but loneliness and a lack of good villains draw him home. George's two little brothers, unnamed Everysiblings, are gleefully wrecking his imaginative play, destroying and toppling with abandon. Worse, George has no place he can get away from them. Finally, he answers their "Where are you going?" with "Nowhere," and the box from the washing machine (and a marker and scissors) will help him get there. Climbing in, with helmet, goggles and flashlight, he pushes a button and arrives in Nowhere--a "vast and empty" place. But by upending his box, he spills out all sorts of building materials to fuel his exuberant adventures; meanwhile, his brothers search the house for him. But in Nowhere, without dragons and pirates to fight, the novelty of being alone soon wears off, no matter the loopy roller coaster or cool rocket, and George heads home to a joyful sibling reunion. Zuppardi's art, done in mixed media, is the perfect complement to a tale about young boys and imagination. His rough, sketchy style (people are little more than stick figures with big heads), bright palette and prominent use of cut, torn and colored cardboard give readers a kid's perspective and makes it seem as if this truly is the siblings' story. While the parallels to Max are obvious, George shows readers how imagination (and a few simple household items) can transport them to another world…and the ties that will bring them home. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763663674
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 11/12/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 386,580
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Zuppardi says he used to draw cartoons at school when he was supposed to be doing work. Among other things, he has worked in a book warehouse, a bookstore, and a toy store, and is currently working with children. The Nowhere Box is his first picture book. He lives in England.

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