Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

What To Do With a Box

What To Do With a Box

Jane Yolen
Illustrator:  Chris Sheban 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Creative Editions, 2016   ISBN: 978-1568462899

When an adult looks at a box he or she sees a container something that can be used to store things in, or transport things from one place to another. In short, a box is a tool. A simple object. However, when a child sees a box he or she sees “a strange device” that can be opened many times and that offers up endless possibilities.

For one thing, a box is the perfect place to read a book. It could therefore be called a “library.” It is a safe place, a cozy “nook” from which to watch the world go by. These are more practical, down-to-earth uses for a box

If you are willing to trip down the road into the world of magic and imagination, a box can become a race car, a plane, a ship that can sail “off to Paris / and back.” Why, with a box in hand, you will have “the only / such magic / that you’ll / ever need.”

Ever since cardboard boxes have been around, children have played in them. Often parents, after going to a great deal of trouble to find the perfect gift for their child, find that their little treasure is happy to play with the box that the gift came in. The gift itself lies on the floor, ignored, while the box is turned into a house, a space ship, or a fort.

This wonderful book, with its minimal rhyming text and its gorgeous artwork, is a treasure that children will love. Grownups too will enjoy tripping down memory lane as the narrative unfolds, remembering how they too took long journeys and had grand adventures in boxes when they were children.