Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Grace and Box: Friends Forever

Grace and Box, by Kim Howard/Illustrated by Megan Lötter, (Jan. 2021, Feiwel and Friends), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250262943

Ages 3-6

A little girl’s family gets a refrigerator box, and she gets a new best friend. Grace gets Box, and proceeds to have all sorts of wonderful adventures: Box is a home, a rocket, a tent, even ruins in Rome! There seems to be no end to the fun Grace and Box will have together, but one day… Box looks a little under the weather. He’s a little saggy; one of his walls has a rip. Grace decides that he needs a break, and takes care of him, bandaging him, letting him rest, even feeding him soup, but he’s still droopy. What’s a kid to do? Reinforce Box and play on! Grace and Box is a story about invention, inspiration, and the joy of creation. Bright digital artwork is appealing and expressive. Grace and her dog have loads of crafting material to share with Box, who has a sweet, drawn-on face that always has a smile for Grace. Rather than ditch Box when he gets a little worn down, Grace patches him up and keeps playing with him; a nice divergence from disposable culture. As a mom who’s had a cardboard fort in my living room since Christmas, I can appreciate Grace and Box’s relationship. Rhyming text is easy to read and colorful artwork pops off the bright white pages. Pair with Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box and Not a Stick. 

Visit author Kim Howard’s webpage for free resources, including a discussion guide and drawing activity.


Posted in Toddler Reads

Book Review: Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis (HarperCollins, 2006)

not a boxRecommended for ages 2-5

A young bunny uses his imagination to make an ordinary cardboard box into a spaceship, a mountain, a robot, and more.

Not a Box illustrates the importance of childhood imagination. The rabbit insists that his toy is “not a box” in answer to the repeated question stated in the title. Using bold, black line drawings on white backgrounds, each page presents readers with the inner working of the rabbit’s imagination; what he imagines his toy is rather than what it isn’t: a race car; a burning building that his fireman can put out; a robot; a mountain. The questions are featured in bright white text against a brown background – the color of a cardboard box. Even the cover and endpapers have the color and texture of a cardboard box. The simple art and design of the book add to the importance of imagination contained within.

This book provides the opportunity for an imagination read-aloud, where children can participate by repeating, “It’s not a box!” in answer to the questions asked on each spread. A printable activity at TeacherVision encourages children to illustrate their vision of “not a box”, and offers coloring sheets and instructions on making their own “not a box”. An episode of Spongebob Squarepants features Spongebob and Patrick the Starfish play with a box, using their imaginations; this would be fun companion viewing to the reading.  For those lapsit readers who may not grasp the concept of the box being 3-dimensional, incorporating a cardboard box into storytime can further spark the imagination and get them thinking about what the box can be.

The book has received designation as an ALA Notable Children’s Books (2007), and received Theodore Seuss Geisel Honors (2007).

The author’s website offers information about the author and her books. She continues the story in Not a Stick.


notabox robot