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Not a Box

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,177 Ratings  ·  614 Reviews
A box is just a box . . . unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows.

Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over and inside a cardboard
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 12th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2006)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
248th out of 3,502 books — 5,199 voters
We are in a Book! by Mo WillemsNot a Box by Antoinette PortisThere is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo WillemsI Want My Hat Back by Jon KlassenI Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
(Theodor Seuss) Geisel Awards and Honors
2nd out of 46 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 07, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Cute! Imaginative! Fun! And totally in the realm of the child's vision. Loved it.
Gregory Walters
Jul 20, 2011 Gregory Walters rated it it was amazing
I love toys. When children walk into my principal's office, they notice two things: (1) kids' books, and (2) toys. In the toy department, I stock the classics: Slinky, Magic 8-Ball, wind-up critters. But I've overlooked an even more popular classic, one that doesn't require navigating your way through PlayStation gadgetry and Transformer movie tie-ins at the local Toys "R" Us. Get your hands on a large cardboard box--large enough to climb in--and watch the fun begin.

This picture book is an ode t
Lisa Vegan
Nov 20, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the young at heart
I didn’t really think the ending worked but this very simple book captures perfectly children’s imaginations at play and how boxes (or other objects) can become anything. It reminded me of the box that came with a new stove and what fun my friends and I had in it as castle, house, fort, etc. and how we would use a table with a blanket over it for some of the same play. Kids are so great!
Nov 24, 2014 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The words in this book simply ask the rabbit again and again why he is playing with/what he is doing in/why he is squirting, etc. a box. Rabbit repeatedly replies a very simple, "it's not a box!" The pictures tell the story of the rabbit's imagination as the box transforms from a race car to a mountain peak to a robot and more. This is a fantastic little picture book that all kids can relate to.

The repetition in this predictable book makes it perfect to share with emerging readers. On every oth
Dec 12, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A book my 6 yr old as well as my twin 3 yr olds loved. A solid reading level 1 book, this cute story keeps all ages engaged with the bright colorful pictures and cute story. A great addition to any children's library.
Jul 06, 2014 Tc rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inpiring, favorites
So much potential! This book is just terrific! A must read (over and over). Teachers can use this book in endless ways. Read the book a time or two, and then bring in a box and have children take turns in the middle of circle time saying what they are imagining their box can be. Then let them work together to make something out of the box (car, airplane, house, rocket, etc)! The favorite thing I've ever done with a big box is poke christmas lights all over one side and add a door and windows. Th ...more
Sean DeLauder
Jan 04, 2015 Sean DeLauder rated it it was amazing
Purchased this story to facilitate my children's imagination and teach them it's okay to have one. Probably unnecessary, as the oldest, Graham, has no trouble imagining he is a dinosaur or other animal (he watches a lot of Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train).

My imagination, though, is not always as welcome, as evidence of Graham's most common protests: "No, daddy, I am not a drum!" and "No, daddy, I am not a tasty food!"


While I fully enjoy Graham's imagination, which I've seen at work many a ti
Jan 28, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing
I read to my 5-year-old. He reports he, "loved it very, super, much!"
For me, it brought back a particular memory that I wonder if my family recalls.
My parents had purchased a new refrigerator. The box it came in was an amazing sight! Until then I had no idea a box that size existed.
My little brother and I successfully persuaded my mother to allow us to sleep in the box for the night before it was disposed of. We happily did our get-ready-for-bed routine without the usual coaxing. The room was da
Leslie Bardo
Feb 07, 2013 Leslie Bardo rated it it was amazing
This book is an interactive story of a bunny that has a box, for which the narrator asks what he or she is doing with the box. The bunny replies every time with what he or she imagines it is- a race car, a mountain, a building on fire, a robot, a pirate ship, a hot air balloon, a steamboat, a rocketship, etc. This book was so cute and well done that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The cover is made of cardboard material so that even the book seems like it could be made out of a box. The illustr ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
First of all, I love the "packaging" of this book. The cover looks like a parcel -- so cute and so clever.

Then there is the rabbit. "Not a Box" has drawn comparisons to "Harold and the Purple Crayon", another very good, buy-worthy book, but in some ways I prefer this book. Because of the rabbit. The rabbit is drawn in that deceptively simple way (rather like Mo Willems' pigeon), is nameless and gender-neutral. Any child can relate to the rabbit.

When my son was about a year and a half, he began
Dec 11, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a humorous tale about a rabbit and a box (I mean, it's not a box.) The plot is similar to Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All, but it's a much more simple tale, just a conversation between the reader and the rabbit. Still, it speaks to the creativity and imagination that children have, often preferring to play with boxes and make up a world of their own rather than merely play with a pre-defined toy. We enjoyed reading this story together, taking turns reading the questions and responses.

Sharmin Ali
Jan 19, 2014 Sharmin Ali rated it it was amazing
A little rabbit has a box. Everyone keeps asking him questions about the box but the rabbit suggests that it is “not a box” and begins to get frustrated. He has very creative imagination and makes the box into different things in his imagination such as a car, mountain etc.

Although, this story is very short, I really enjoyed it. I love how the pictures show us the imagination of the rabbit. I also like the cover over the book, which has a cardboard box feeling to it. It will be a very good story
Zequoia Hyche
Jul 14, 2014 Zequoia Hyche rated it really liked it
Not a Box is a fun story to read, because it is very simple. It has few words, but says so much about how important it is to foster creativity. It encourages children to see this ordinary box in a different manner. The illustrations are pretty simple as well, but they display different ways a box can be transformed into something greater. We want our children to be creative and to think for themselves. As teachers we should not want to conform our children to a box. We want them to explore diffe ...more
Sarah Hammerton
Oct 05, 2011 Sarah Hammerton rated it really liked it
Not a Box is a lovely story about the power of imagination. It begins by asking Rabbit 'Why are you sitting in a box?'. Rabbit replies 'It's not a box' and on the next page we see Rabbit in a racing car. The question is repeated with the same answer each time and a variety of different situations including a burning building and a space ship. The simple, stylised illustrations perfectly reflect the theme of the book - that you can create anything with your imagination.

The cover of the book is p
Feb 24, 2015 Rachael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1kbbk
Instead of a review, I'm tempted to just post the video of my 2-year-old crazy laughing while my husband reads him this book. It's so great- that completely uncontrollable contagious laughter. In his mind, this is the funniest book he's ever read and for that reason alone I give this five stars. Also I love that this is dedicated to 'children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes'.
Jermeria Daniel
Jul 10, 2015 Jermeria Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great way to allow children to explore their imagination. I would ask that children bring in small box and then create something new out of it, similar to the story. They will then be able to write stories about their own boxes.
Crystal Jackson
Jul 14, 2014 Crystal Jackson rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! Great book to show children when introducing them to the term imagination. Teachers can give their students boxes and see what they come up with. This activity could promote language development.
Monique Williams
After reading this book I would add it to a creative play center along with a few boxes. I would also use this book to introduce environmental shapes. The pictures include many shapes that are in actual buildings.
Emma Otusajo
Oct 23, 2011 Emma Otusajo rated it it was amazing

This is an early reader's book great - simple but with a clear message that illustrates how children use their imagination to play with simple things - like cardboard boxes! (Making you wonder why you spent all that money on those toys when all they really want is the box...)

The story is sweet, with good illustrations and large print - an early reader could definitely relate to this story. Good for getting children to use their imagination to use props in a drama activity.

From another perspectiv
Apr 08, 2013 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has or does play w/boxes
Recommended to June by: Elissa?
A rabbit is asked repeated questions about what s/he is doing with a box. The rabbits response each time is "It's not a box." The illustration shows what s/he thinks it is. The last response to the question "Well, what is it then?" is great. 6/21/12

Use at PJ Story Time and this worked almost as well as My Friend Rabbit to keep the young boy's attention.

This worked much better at story time where some of the children were slightly older and could participate and respond with what the box is. Work
Andy M
Jan 14, 2014 Andy M rated it it was amazing
An imaginative exploration of the possibilities presented to a ‘rabbit’ by a simple cardboard box. The wording is basic and straightforward and yet conveys the story well. The art is equally simple, yet effective, showing the rabbit and box on one page and the imaginative use of the book on the next. A short and enjoyable book, probably aimed at high KS1 or early KS2 readers
This is one of my favorite books ever. It reminds me to see more than the surface. It reminds me to imagine. Also, it makes me giggle.
Valentin Eni
Întotdeauna ştiam că o cutie de carton este o jucărie mult mai valoroasă decât o maşină cu telecomandă ori o căsuţă pentru păpuşi :)
Nu ştiu de ce Notabox-ul de la final mi-a amintit de gluma asta:
Nobody is perfect...
I'm nobody.
Jeana Wert
Oct 13, 2013 Jeana Wert rated it liked it
This book was cute, but it was not on my list of favorite children's books. There were a couple positives about the book, like the bunny using his imagination. This could teach young children to use their imagination with simple objects such as this cardboard box. I liked that the pictures showed the different ways the bunny saw the box in his own mind. I did not like that the lines were so harsh and dark, and there were hardly any color in the pictures. The red showed what the bunny saw in his ...more
Shakeema Gabriel
Jul 15, 2014 Shakeema Gabriel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
Awesome Awesome book!!!!! This book brings out a lot of imagination. This is a simple book that u can act out with the children. You can ask them open ended questions as well.
Garrett Harner
Plot: Not a Box is a story that takes the reader on a magical adventure. As you flip through the pages, you join an adorable bunny, as he comes up with many uses for his favorite toy. That toy is his "Not a Box". In joining Bunny, the reader can see that things are not always as they seem. Sometimes its not whats on the outside that matter...but what you can imagine on your own.

Literary Merit: This story is great for younger readers. The images on the pages show both an ordinary box, as well as
Katie Farver
Nov 23, 2015 Katie Farver rated it really liked it
Not a Box tells the story of a very imaginative, very creative little bunny. It begins with a bunny sitting in a box being asked why he is doing so. The bunny explains that it isn’t a box and the illustration shows the bunny in the box imagined as a racecar. This pattern continues throughout the book, with the bunny becoming more and more frustrated by the narrator’s lack of imagination, until the narrator wisely asks “Well, what is it then?” to which bunny replies “Its my Not-a-Box!” (Portis, 2 ...more
Emily Benner
Not a Box is a cute, and funny picture book for children. It is about a bunny who has a box, however to him/her it is not a just a box like it appears to the reader asking the questions. As the reader asks the question, the bunny responds by showing the box and how they are imagining it and using it. For example the reader asks, "Why are you sitting in a box?" and the bunny says, "It's not a box." and is imagining it as a race car. Throughout the rest of the book, bunny also imagines the box as ...more
Samantha Powley
Dec 13, 2014 Samantha Powley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bakers-dozen
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis is an entertaining book for young readers to read. This book received a Bakers Dozen award. The story is about a little rabbit with a huge imagination. He uses a simple box and transforms it into many different things. He uses the box as a robot costume, a pirate ship, a rocket ship, and even a hot-air balloon. He uses the box for everything and anything that he think of with his own imagination. He tells the reader that “It’s not a box!” and explains what it actua ...more
Brittany Martz
Dec 03, 2014 Brittany Martz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theodore-geisel
Not A Box is a very creative and thought through book that allows children to use their imagination with a box. Something as simple as a box is turned into so many different things. All throughout the book, the author asks the rabbit a question about the box and the rabbit always replies it is not a box and then the illustrator shoes another way that the box can be used creatively (firehouse, racecar, robot, boat, etc.)This storybook feels like a cardboard box on the outside which gives the book ...more
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Antoinette attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and is a former creative director at Disney. She lives in Southern California.
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