Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

From TheBookbag
Jump to navigationJump to search

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis

Buy Not A Box by Antoinette Portis at or

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A reminder of the infinite power of children's imagination, with a simple, striking & tasteful design and artwork.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007254798

Share on: Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram

Not-A-Box looks - like a box. It's got brown cardboardy cover and is even imprinted with 'This Way Up' and a net weight. Inside, in a minimalist palette of black and red on white, red yellow and brown pages, there is a story of a minimalist-Miffy-like child bunny who, as many a human child, loved sitting in boxes, hiding in boxes and wearing boxes.

An exasperated mother, appearing only as a disembodied voice in the dialogue, keeps asking silly questions of the Why are you wearing a box? type, while the child maintains that, obviously it's not a box. It's a space ship, a car, a burning tower block, a robot suit, a balloon, and a countless other things. In fact, it's simply Not-A-Box.

Not-A-Box is a great little concept book for small children and their parents. It celebrates the power of imagination and ingenuity that allows children to use the most mundane of objects to create their own scenes and worlds and act out stories. It's also funny and a pleasure to handle and look at.

The book has a carefully thought out, minimalist design which will appeal to all parents that can't stand the sweet old-fashioned pictures nor the garish modern ones, but the use of thick line and bold, colours (with red delineating the imaginary and black the everyday) will make it attractive and easy to understand to children.

The text is simple and reflects the often limited verbal competences of small children: It's NOT NOT NOT a box!.

As often, I am not convinced about the necessity for an animal character replacing humans (why can't we have a generic child instead of a generic rabbit?) , but despite that it's well worth borrowing, and possibly even buying, especially if your child is more sensitive to the visual than verbal and in particular if they like sitting in boxes themselves!

Thanks to HarperCollins for sending this to the Bookbag.

If this seems to subdued to appeal, try ROAR! by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe.

Please share on: Facebook Facebook, Follow us on Twitter Twitter and Follow us on Instagram Instagram

Buy Not A Box by Antoinette Portis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Not A Box by Antoinette Portis at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Not A Box by Antoinette Portis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Not A Box by Antoinette Portis at


Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.