Cardboard Universe: Box Books for Young Readers

Bookendswhat-to-do-with-a-boxLynn: Two recent books address the perennial, ferocious appeal of the cardboard box and the endless possibilities contained therein. The first, Jane Yolen’s What to Do with a Box (2016), follows two imaginative children who transform a box into a library, a palace, a race car, and a flying machine. Yolen’s bouncy rhymes praise the simple, engaging theme:

“A Box! A Box

Is a wonder indeed.”

Illustrator Chris Sheban used cardboard, watercolor, and pencil to create sweet illustrations redolent of nostalgic innocence. The warm palette and charming scenes will send young readers running for the nearest box. Stock up now!

box-by-min-flyteCindy: Min Flyte’s Box (2015) starts off by asking, “What do you think is inside this box?” Rosalind Beardshaw’s charming illustrations feature small children determined to answer this very question by examining a series of ever-growing boxes, each with a flap to open and see what’s inside. Soon, the children have a plenty of boxes, and the question evolves into what to do with them. The flaps become parts of objects the kids design: a castle door, a ship’s sail, and larger surprises that fold up and out. It seems you can’t go wrong with boxes, or with books about them.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "Cardboard Universe: Box Books for Young Readers"

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  1. Reading the summary for these two books have already brought up memories of stacking cardboard boxes to create play houses, or boats for high-sea adventuring. I could definitely see children becoming preoccupied with boxes as their new favorite toy after finishing either of these books!

  2.' Judy Weymouth says:

    I would add Giselle Potter’s This Is My Dollhouse to your two choices. Thanks for highlighting two that are new to me. I can see the possibility of using all three for some good compare/contrast lessons.

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