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Not A Box
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A beautifully designed book, celebrating the power of the imagination to transform even the most ordinary of objects into something magical. A box is just a box! unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows. Inspired by the memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her brother, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill of when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes reality. Her simple, spare text and illustrations show that seeing truly depends on the ability to believe in the possibilities. Key title / Celebrates the imagination of childhood and the ability to transform the mundane into fantastical adventure. / Children will enjoy pretending to go on flights of fantasy with this irresistible rabbit voyager. / Antoinette Portis' individual artwork style has a wonderful simplicity that will appeal strongly to very young children. / We are delighted to welcome Antoinette Portis to our list with this, her first picture book. / Competition: Miffy by Dick Bruna

About the Author

Antoinette Portis attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and is a former creative director at Disney Consumer Products. She lives in Studio City, California, USA.

Reviews

Sometimes the best toys are improvised, according to this celebration of the humble cardboard box. Packaged in a plain brown jacket that resembles a paper bag (another item with vast potential), this minimalist book features a rabbit-child, simply drawn in a heavy black line. In the first spread, designed in neutral black, white and tan, the rabbit's head peeks out of a rectangle. An offstage voice asks, "Why are you sitting in a box?" When the page turns, the rabbit answers, "It's not a box." A touch of color comes into the image. The empty white background is tinted pale yellow, and a thick red line traces a racecar over the basic black box shape, revealing what the rabbit imagines. By the time the skeptical voice inquires, "Now you're wearing a box?," readers know to expect a playful transformation in the next spread. "This is not a box," replies the rabbit, as a red robot suit is superimposed over the initial drawing. The teasing questions challenge the young rabbit, who demonstrates that a box can serve as a pirate-ship crow's nest, a hot-air balloon basket and a rocket. Readers won't abandon their battery-charged plastic toys, but they might join in a game of reimagining everyday objects. Most profitably, Portis reminds everyone (especially her adult audience) that creativity doesn't require complicated set-ups. Ages 6 mos.-6 yrs. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Dedicated 'to children everywhere sitting cardboard boxes', this wonderful little book perfectly captures the amazing capacity of a child's imagination to create endless possibilities out of a humble box. Brilliantly illustrated with a cute bunny (bearing a passing homage to the graphic minimalism of Duck Bruna's Miffy), the box becomes all manner of wonderful things, from a rocketship to a hot-air balloon -- anything but a plain old cardboard box. A super book that's as close to perfection as a picture book can get!" Junior "Simple and appealing... Nicely packaged in a cardboard cover, it looks like a kids' classic in the making." Time Out "A stylish paean to the imagination for two- to four-year-olds." Financial Times Magazine "This fashionably simple book has Rabbit encouraging young children to explore imaginary worlds whilst sitting in a cardboard box -- on land or water or up into space. Great fun." Carousel "The adorable story of Rabbit and imaginative world within a simple cardboard box." Practical Parenting

PreS-Gr 1-In bold, unornamented line drawings of a rabbit and a box, the author-illustrator offers a paean to the time-honored imaginative play of young children who can turn a cardboard box into whatever their creativity can conjure. Through a series of paired questions and answers, the rabbit is queried about why he is sitting in, standing on, spraying, or wearing a box. Each time, he insists, "It's not a box!" and the opposite page reveals the many things a small child's pretending can make of one: a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a robot. One important caveat: the younger end of the intended audience is both literal and concrete in their approach to this material. The box itself, drawn as a one-dimensional rectangle, will be perceived by preschoolers to be flat and not readily understood as three-dimensional. Furthermore, those children are likely to interpret the "box's" transformation to be "magic," while five- and six-year-olds are able to make the cognitive conversion from flat rectangle to three-dimensional box and to understand that the transformation has been made by the rabbit's own imagination. Both audiences will enjoy the participatory aspect of identifying each of the rabbit's new inventions. Knowledgeable adults will bring along a large box to aid in understanding and to encourage even more ideas and play.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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