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Not a Box

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  15,107 ratings  ·  914 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
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,107 ratings  ·  914 reviews

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Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
I loved boxes as a child, I loved imaginative play and the craft possibilities with a large box are endless. This is a nice simple book about a rabbit who is imagining different scenarios with a box, lovely!
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book for children with a deeper message for adults - very nice!
Sophia Triad
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book is a tribute to children's imagination and creativity. Beautiful! ...more
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Cute! Imaginative! Fun! And totally in the realm of the child's vision. Loved it. ...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 16, 2008 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!
Gregory Walters
Jul 20, 2011 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
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ah, to be a child again, and see the world within a cardboard box. Oh, the things it can be, and the places it can take you. I LOVE how the cover lists the net weight, and the back cover says "THIS SIDE UP." Too cute! ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Ivonne by: Scholastic
Like so many excellent children’s books, adults will get so much more out of it than their children. An unseen adult asks the bunny child about his “box”; the clever bunny repeatedly denies that it’s a box — and thanks to his imagination, it’s not! It can be anything: racecar, a blazing apartment building, and even Mount Everest and more! Author Antoinette Portis, with her story and drawings, has crafted a valentine to imagination. Highly, highly recommended.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's not a box 📦 but a rocket ship or robot or train or .... ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, youth
How have I not added this book before now? I couldn't begin to estimate the number of times I've read either on my own or with a little one. It is a perfect - yes, perfect - blend of whimsy and cadence and inspiration and economy. The brown paper packaging is added delight, as are the carefully simplified illustrations. We all need more not-a-boxes in our lives. ...more
Stephanie Calhoun
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book would be a great writing prompt. The students could come up with a way that they could use their imagination with a box (the teacher would need to provide boxes, of course). Such a cute book!
Zahrah Al-Merei
Very adorable story that encourages children to be imaginative and creative, I can see it being a great book to accompany an art or design unit within a class.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Seeking Children's Stories About Imaginative Play
The title of this picture-book for very young children reminds me of Magritte's famous painting, La trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), in which an image of a pipe is labeled: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"). Rather than calling into question the distinctions between image and reality, however, Not a Box is a charming juxtaposition of the prosaic (and one presumes, adult) perspective, when confronted with a cardboard box, and the creative response of the child, when c ...more
Sharmin Ali
Jan 19, 2014 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 stor
Zequoia Hyche
Jul 01, 2014 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
Iqra Fiaz
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
I love this Picturebook because it encourages children to use their imaginations.

It is so effective because the pages are coloured brown and are plain and boring whenever someone questions the use of the character's imagination but when it comes up with something new that this box could be, the pages are brightly coloured and inviting.

It can be read to children to encourage them to be creative and 'think outside the box'.
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a perennial favorite for my children, and it's perfect for parents, too, especially if you've ever given your child a gift and then they've played with the box instead. My five-year-old is extra impressed that the book "looks like it's made out of box stuff." ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very cute book to help little ones be imaginative and think/play outside the box!
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: little-ones
i sincerely love a good imagination boost and inspiration book for children. the simplistic lines are perfect, the shape & color of the book itself resembling a box-- classic. well done!
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this picture book. I feel this book offers many opportunities for children to be creative and use their imagination through the illustrations and the questions asked. A teacher reading this text could ask the children to think of what rabbit could turn their box into before reading on, this will keep the children engaged and involved in the text. I like how the author has used different sentence starters for the questions because this teaches children how questions c ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not a box by Antoinette Portis. This book "dedicated to children everywhere" could also well be dedicated to all adults who remember how in their childhood, the umpteenth times they played with cardboard or any other boxes rather than the toys on the shelves, transforming them into forts or beds or whatever that could be imagined, so many dreams and secrets lay hidden in those box transformations. A simple book with so much thought and provocation.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book to encourage kids' imagination and creativity. ...more
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was delightfully silly and just wonderful. I was very fond of the potential of a good “not a box” when I was a wee tyke, so I TOTALLY grokked the premise here. Well done.
Laura McLoughlin
Is there anything better than a cardboard box?
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
Nov 03, 2014 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
Sean DeLauder
Dec 26, 2014 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
Leslie Bardo
Feb 07, 2013 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 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
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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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