Celebrating Boxes!

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So many uses for a box – beyond unpacking it!  When my son was young, he would flip them over and make stands for his plastic musical instruments.  Toddlers often prefer the box to the gift – and a few years ago there was a viral video about Caine, a young boy who built a cardboard arcade. If you missed it….

A new book by Jane Yolen, What To Do With a Box, reminded me of two other box-themed favorites: Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran and Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.  All three books are perfect read-alouds – and fun vehicles for young children to use their imaginations.

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What To Do With a Box is a pure celebration of things to do with boxes: having a tea party with your dolls, turn it into a race car, or “climb inside there read a book.”

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The pictures by Chris Sheban achieve a kind of magic – while they are the same brown color as an ordinary box, they glow with the power of imagination.

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After looking at Sheban’s illustrations, I went to his website to learn more about him and it turns out he grew up in Ohio (an inspirational place for young artists!) – and did the artwork for, among other books, Paperboy by Vince Vawter, one of my favorite young adult novels.

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Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box captures the endearing certainty that young children have about their imaginary play. The star of Not a Box is a rabbit who turns his box into, among other things, a robot or a race car.  The vibe of this book is pure Harold – the little guy with the powerful purple crayon. The simple lines here are red rather than purple, but the rabbit and the boy are kindred spirits.

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Roxaboxen is for those seeking the next level of box creativity. The classic story about a group of children who use cardboard, sand and rocks to build a whole town – complete with an ice cream shop. It’s an inspiring story – and even aspirational to those of us with less developed imaginations!

I hope we get a delivery today – maybe I’ll save the box!

 

 

 

 

 

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