Wednesday, July 13, 2011


By Antoinette Portis

(HarperCollins Children's Books, 2007)

I love toys. When children walk into my principal's office, they notice two things: (1) kids' books, and (2) toys. In the toy department, I stock the classics: Slinky, Magic 8-Ball, wind-up critters. But I've overlooked an even more popular classic, one that doesn't require navigating your way through PlayStation gadgetry and Transformer movie tie-ins at the local Toys "R" Us. Get your hands on a large cardboard box--large enough to climb in--and watch the fun begin.

This picture book is an ode to the lowly cardboard box, cleverly designed with that familiar drab brown for the cover. (Hey, Benjamin Moore, there's a new paint color for you: ooh, Box Brown.) The title appears in simple red letters along with a "NET WT." stat on the front and a "THIS SIDE UP" on the sparse back cover.

The simplicity continues inside the book, with respect to both text and drawings. The unimaginative narrator's questions (e.g., "Why are you sitting in a box?") are typed on the left page while a simple black-outlined bunny figure literally assumes the position on the otherwise blank right side. Turn the page and bright yellow and red wash over the spread as bunny's imaginative play is revealed.

Life really can be that simple. This book will make you smile and hopefully reignite some of that wonder in the adult mind.

Anybody around here just purchase a new refrigerator? How about I take that box off your hands...

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