Monday, December 18, 2006

I've read terrific reviews of this little brown boxy book on several other blogs, most notably Mother Reader, and was therefore prepared to be wowed when I read it. And at first, I wasn't. But in retrospect, I was.

Allow me to elaborate:

This book features a dialogue between an "off-screen" character (undoubtedly an adult), who repeatedly asks the little line-drawing bunny why he/she is doing various things with a box. And the little bunny repeatedly answers, "It's not a box." On the asking two-page spread, we see the little bunny doing something in, on, with or to the box. On the next two-page spread, we see by the addition of red lines to the original drawing what it is that the little bunny is imagining, and that in the bunny's mind it is, indeed, not a box.

Kids will love hollering "It's not a box" along with the little bunny. Adults may or may not "get" the true appeal of this book, which has an insidious message indeed: adults are dense and unimaginative, and children are resourceful and clever. In the end, hours after reading it (twice), I concluded that this book was sheer genius and that I loved it, and that's because of its clever use of what appear to be simple line drawings (although I couldn't manage them myself when I tried), it's cardboard-boxy goodness (the jacket even feels like a box), and the triumph of smart children everywhere over the adults who try to box them in. Kudos to Antoinette Portis for this fun and clever little box book.

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