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Not a Box

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  7,666 ratings  ·  538 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
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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
244th out of 3,101 books — 4,634 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 KlassenFirst the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
(Theodor Seuss) Geisel Awards and Honors
2nd out of 39 books — 16 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kathryn
Cute! Imaginative! Fun! And totally in the realm of the child's vision. Loved it.
Gregory Walters
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
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Lisa Vegan
Nov 20, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 3 of 5 stars
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!
Lindsay
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
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Jack Scotcher
Not a Box is about a rabbit, who, when asked why he/she is sitting in a box, answers with the sort of response you would expect from any child (or in this case a rabbit) aged six and below.

It's not a box! It's a racing car; a rocket ship; a house; a boat. Though I did not read it with my class, I really enjoyed it and look forward to the opportunity of reading it to a yr1 or reception class.

I liked that the book had been made from the same sort of cardboard used for boxes and the illustrations
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midnightfaerie
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.
Tc
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
Monica
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
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Leslie Bardo
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
Karen
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
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Dolly
Dec 11, 2011 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.

Th
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Sharmin Ali
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
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Zequoia Hyche
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
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
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Crystal Jackson
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.
Emma Otusajo


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
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June
Apr 08, 2013 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Andy M
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
Crystal
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.
Jeana Wert
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
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.
Samantha Powley
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
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
Annabel
This story was so simple and yet I loved it so much. I loved the bunny's insistence that the box wasn't a box but was whatever he wanted it to be. It's a good message about making life and our experiences what we want them to be and not letting others bog down our beliefs despite their protests. We can get the content we want out of life and make the meaning we want to out of ordinary things. The drawings were so funny and fun. I love that the main emphasis was on the box because children really ...more
Kaitlyn Steckbeck
"Not a Box" is a very cute story about a bunny who has a box. On every page the bunny is shown doing something with the box and the question is asked about why the bunny is doing that to a box. The bunny simply replies on the next page "It is not a box!" because the bunny is imagining that it is something else. The pictures in the book are simply and does not have much color when just the box is shown with the bunny. However, when turning the page to see what the box is being imagined as there a ...more
Claire Torres
Claire Torres

Not a Box is, without a doubt, a necessary component to any children’s bookshelf. Initially, the book has a very simple style to it with its stick figure drawing and use of only 4 colors: brown, red, black and white. The main character, the rabbit, experiences this fantastic serious of events when is a racecar driver, fire fighter and so many other fanciful things through a box. This is such an important book for developing and early readers because it displays imagination and dete
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Reily Riemersma
Not A Box by Antoinette Portis is about a rabbit who plays with a cardboard box. To what seems to be an ordinary card board box, to this rabbit it is no ordinary box. To the rabbit this could be anything. Throughout the story the rabbit imagines this cardboard box as many different things, letting his imagination take over.

This book was a very good book in my opinion. What really caught my eye was the wide range of detail that the author gave of all the things this box could actually be. This br
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Sara
The picture-book saga of a small bunny and their adventures with their not-a-box.

This is... okay, I guess? I like the design with the plain brown paper and the title caught my interest. And the ending, in which the small bunny finally manages to answer the off-panel annoying adult in a way that shuts them up, is great, and would probably have been enjoyed a lot by three-year-old me. But I think I kind of lost patience by about age 3 with books that celebrate the EXISTENCE OF IMAGINATION. I under
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Laura
This was totally a hit with my kindergarten students. A bunny has a box but uses it to imagine a race car, climb a mountain, and rocket to the moon. Antointte Portis uses red lines to show the bunny's imagination, which is a perfect delineation for my kindergarten students.

I gave my students a bunny and box to design their own Not A Box. They had great ideas but it was hard for some of them to translate their ideas into a picture that reflected Portis style.
Cortney
When my six-year old read this to his little brother, he laughed his head off. He LOVED it!
Not a box teaches us that a box is not a box, it's a rocket ship, a race car, a mountain peak and so much more. This book teaches of the power of imagination without once mentioning imagination, simply showing the rabbit on his adventures with his "not a box."
Wonderful book!
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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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