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Harry's Box
     

Harry's Box

by Angela McAllister, Jenny Jones (Illustrator)
 

Harry has helped his mother with the shopping:packing groceries in a box at the supermarket, and then unpacking it at home. She rewards him with the box once it's empty, and with it he and his faithful hound Wolfie spend an afternoon braving high seas and discovering undersea worlds, without ever going farther than their own backyard. In this charming and

Overview

Harry has helped his mother with the shopping:packing groceries in a box at the supermarket, and then unpacking it at home. She rewards him with the box once it's empty, and with it he and his faithful hound Wolfie spend an afternoon braving high seas and discovering undersea worlds, without ever going farther than their own backyard. In this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book, readers will enjoy Harry and Wolfie's fantastic adventures. The best toys need only a little imagination to bring them to life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McAllister's (Barkus) nimble prose and Jones's (Sandbear) warm illustrations lift a boy, a dog and a cardboard box out of the ordinary. In return for helping his mother at the supermarket, Harry gets to keep the box in which they toted home the groceries. "First he put it in the kitchen," the text starts, while an illustration shows Harry peering into the opening of his new treasure, his wolfhound at his side, surrounded by some stuffed toys and a striped blanket. On the next spread, "[The box] became a shop full of toys, treats and treasures"; Jones conveys the boy's vivid imagination, as the striped blanket transforms into a liner on a shop shelf, and a stuffed mouse holds a baguette. When "a difficult customer wanted bones and old slippers" (his pet is the only live occupant), the shopkeeper closes up, to explore a lion's den. Jones shows the realistic scenes as transitions from one fantasy to the next (he moves the box from kitchen to garden). Repetition in form and text invite readers to guess at the next scenarios (a pirate's ship, an underwater cave). Harry's dog always brings the fantasies to a close, until the end, when his mother approaches the "castle" sporting a cape and bearing a tray of goodies ("But when the foe arrived she brought the king's favorite cookies"). After the snack, sleep claims boy and dog; they dream of "all the boxes they could make tomorrow," echoing the ambitions of imaginative kids everywhere. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
For Harry, an empty box from the supermarket is his magic key to adventure. With his dog as participant, Harry becomes the shopkeeper of a shop in the box. When moved to the garden, it is the den of a dangerous lion and a growling (teddy) bear. In the bathroom, Harry becomes a pirate with the box as his ship, while his dog is sailor digging for buried treasure. "I expect it will be a bone," says Harry. A sandy cave on the seabed and a castle are the next imagined transformations. Finally the box ends up behind the sofa where Harry and Wolfie's dreams carry on in imagination. Because the spare text can only hint at Harry's adventures, Jones's paintings, in single and double-page scenes, provide details galore. They invite us to search out the overstocked store shelves, the flower-filled garden beds, the toy-strewn bedroom, to enter both his real and imaginary worlds. Harry himself is a charming fellow whose hairy dog plays a range of roles. Fun from start to finish. 2003, Bloomsbury Children's Books,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Accompanied by his dog, a boy carries a box to different places in his home and pretends that it is a store, a lion's den, a pirate ship, an underwater cave, and a castle. Finally, it becomes a snug place to nap. Jones's richly colored illustrations invite readers to note elements of Harry's real world that are carried over to his pretend one. Single-page scenes of the child's house and garden alternate with colorful spreads in vivid detail of the imaginary places he visits. McAllister's take on a child's world treads familiar territory. While more creative views of the possibility of boxes lie in Alice McLerran's classic Roxaboxen (Lothrop, 1991) and Dayle Ann Dodds's The Color Box (Little, Brown, 1992), this is still an appealing offering.-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Harry is the recipient of a big brown box, courtesy of helping his mom bring groceries home. In the kitchen, it becomes a shop; in the garden, it becomes a lion's den; in the bathroom, a pirate ship; in his room, a castle. Harry's imagination is fully illustrated with pictures that take advantage of flora and fauna at his various locales, and his shop of "toys, treats, and treasures" has everything from chocolate cake to a cell phone on its shelves. Customer, adversary, and companion roles are played by Harry's dog Wolfie. The illustrations have bright colors, soft edges, and myriad details. Children will instinctively recognize the power inherent in that big box, a story that began with Patricia Lee Gauch's classic Christina Katerina and the Box (1971). The complete package would also include Katherine Ayres's A Long Way (p. 603) and Marisabina Russo's Big Brown Box (2000). (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582347721
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
07/04/2003
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.08(w) x 11.14(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Angela McAllister is the author of many children's books, including The Babies of Cockle Bay and Barkus, Sly and the Golden Egg, which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She lives in England.

Jenny Jones is the illustrator of Sandbear, by Shen Roddie. She lives deep in the Welsh countryside, where she works as a fine artist and illustrator.

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