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What To Do With a Box
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What To Do With a Box

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,025 ratings  ·  203 reviews
If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure, a feature imaginatively captured in cardboardesque art by Chris Sheban and rhythmically celebrated in this poetic tribute by renowned ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Creative Editions (first published February 1st 2016)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  1,025 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a required storytime title at my store and since I didn't have any other similar books, I felt I had to come up with something to engage the kids. The craft that came along with the event directive was lackluster, to say the least. So what I did, I brought out all kind of boxes if different shapes and sizes. I asked the kids "what are these?" Of course, they said "Boxes." and then I asked "What do we do with them?" to which I heard "Throw them away!" and "Put stuff in them." Then I read ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books

An empty box is never really empty. It’s full of potential! You can fill it with magic, imagination, and fun. I swear sometimes the wrapping paper and box provide more fun and joy for kids than the gift itself. :D My brothers and sisters and I would play in a box until the seams split! Then duck-tape it back up and play on!


These pages are a wonder! Every page captures the color, look, and texture of a box. You can see the
As a collector of boxes for kids to play with, I totally get this book. Love it! Wish there were more adult-size boxes out there so we could let our imaginations go. The illustrations were great, with that cardboard feel everywhere. And such a cute dog!!

1/17/17 Used as opener for B preschool theme. Would have been closer if I had remembered not to get rid of all the boxes over the break. oops. But the kids enjoyed this and seeing the imaginations. They liked the dog, too.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh the glorious things, little dears can do with (and in) a box! Fly to the moon - Vroom around a racetrack - Go on Safari - Frolic with Cave Trolls. The list is as long as one's imagination is wide. And that is a most delightful thing! The book is also delightful - in a subtle, understated, earthy-tones, simplistic way.

A perfect Christmastime read to share with my Grands. After all . . . what do little tykes play with more than unwrapped toys? The empty boxes, of course! :-)
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book represents the power and imagination inherent in a box. I remember doing some of these things with a box.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is said that when you give a small child a present, he or she often has as much fun with the packaging. Jane Yolen's imaginative book certainly confirms that.
Kimberly Sabatini
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
There is nothing better than a big box!
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A rhyming picture book about the adventures you can have with a cardboard box and some imagination. I liked the premise but thought the use of rhyme--which felt forced at times--limited the possibilities of this story. The illustrations were amazing and did most of the heavy lifting in conveying the imagination I had expected from the text. The hues of brown accented with subtle yet rich green, blue and red tones gave warmth and enchantment to the story.
Marissa Raimondi
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wow-books
What To Do With a Box, by Jane Yolen, is a wow book for me! This book takes children on an adventure and shows them that with a little imagination, there is no limit to what you can do! In this story, a cardboard box becomes a library, a boat, a race car, and so much more. It sets the scene for a fairy tale, wild expedition, and a tea party! I really enjoy the message that this story delivers and the deeper meaning that lies behind an ordinary cardboard box.

I would use this book in the
Jim Erekson
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
A pretty literal how-to book. Yes, some of the ideas are imaginative, and are fleshed out a bit more in the illustrations, but on the whole these are standard ideas. Last I checked most kids don't need a guide book to help them play with a giant cardboard box. It's more or less an extended

The words and pictures are pretty much a mirror of each other, with a kind of 'imagination takes you places' flair to the illustrations. But not a very good use of the picturebook form. Why are editors still
Exactly what I expected from this book. It's nothing particularly new, but it definitely has a place in the STEM push in schools and libraries these days. I did a cardboard construction program last year, but it was geared towards tweens. I think with the help of this and Not a Box I could maybe do a similar type program for kids and families.

The illustrations are done on cardboard, but I can't really find out to what degree. The pictures feature all the hallmarks of cardboard: the corrugated
Linda Lipko
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hearken back to childhood days when a large box became the joy for many hours as neighborhood kids slid down a long summer hill. If I close my eyes, I can hear the laughter. Dizzy from tumbling down, down and round, round, round still, we took turns walking back up the hill and climbing in the cardboard home.

The author captures these moments, are more. This book is hot of the press and recently published. The illustrations are incredible!
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
What's not to love about this book?
Love the premise -- a box's potential for play and imagination
Love the illustrations -- have very much the aura of boxes
Love the text - both spare and inspired, just right
Now all that's left is to test drive it with little ones. Stay tuned.

Here is a link to a "Boxes" Story time I did a few years back:
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pbf-general
This is basically an illustrated poem, which, according to the blurb, is illustrated in textured, cardboard-esque art. The illustrations are large and aptly depict the wild imaginations of the two children who are playing with the box. I really liked this artwork and found it unique and engaging.
Michele Knott
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite memories is playing with the large boxes that we would have after getting a new appliance. This was not a regular occurrence so we had to make those boxes last.
Love books that explore the joy of childhood imagination.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My favorite part is how she made the illustrations on a box. Whoaaaaa. I also liked the idea of drawing a scene on the INSIDE of a box as well as the outside.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Another great choice for a box-themed storytime. Start collecting your empty boxes now.
Rhyming text about creative, imaginative ways to use a box - so many things a box can be!

Maybe pair with How To Find Gold for a summer storytime theme?
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
What to Do with a Box is a short picture book written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Chris Sheban. Intended for very young audiences, the narrator describes all of the imaginative and creative ways a cardboard box can be used. For instance, in the beginning of the book, the narrator describes a few literal things you can do with a box, such as opening it, sitting inside of it while reading a book, or even painting it in a variety of fun and fanciful ways. However, the story also includes ...more
Gail Gauthier
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
"To me Yolen's book reads like more of an ode to creativity and, of course, the box, then it does a how-to book. I wonder if this isn't the poetry or picture book equivalent of a shell essay. A shell essay is an essay that's written in a non-essay format. It's called a shell essay because the essay takes on another kind of writing's format the way a hermit crab takes on some other creature's shell. (Actually, I see these are also called hermit crab essays. I don't know where I saw the term shell ...more
Erin Buhr
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I like the story. Jane Yolen is consistently wonderful. The words convey creativity and possibility. They capture the way a child views a plain brown box. Such as in NOT A BOX, the possibilities are indeed huge and endless if you have the imagination with which to view them. And yet, the words are not what make this book so special.

What is special about this book are the illustrations by Chris Sheban. The illustrations build on the imagination told with the words, but they also add depth and
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Yolen, Jane What To Do With a Box, illustrated by Chris Sheban PICTURE BOOK The Creative Company, 2016 $19. 9781568462899

A boy and his sister share a box - it can be almost anything they want. Sometimes they are together, like playing hide and seek, or pretending they are race cars; sometimes they are alone, reading a book, playing pretend, even taking a nap.

So many things that you can do with a box! Almost every page makes you feel like you are inside the box with the children. I love that the
Taryn Grant
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Throw away those ipads. All our students really need is a box to elicit that sense of imagination and adventure. Yolen takes her readers on a poetic and and childlike adventure through the many ways a box can be used. The illustrations are done looking like actual cardboard, which is a fun in a lois ehlert sort of way. This story could be used pre-k to 3 as a spring board for a stem challenge for cardboard. I love the lyrical language and the Cat in the Hat intensity of playfulness. I would have ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A boy and his sister share a box - it can be almost anything they want. Sometimes they are together, like playing hide and seek, or pretending they are race cars; sometimes they are alone, reading a book, playing pretend, even taking a nap.

So many things that you can do with a box! Almost every page makes you feel like you are inside the box with the children. I love that the edges seem to fold in just like a box. A great read aloud to share. Give this book as a gift in a giant empty box!
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what is better, the story, or the illustrations. Both are fun, magical, and full of imagination. The artist does do well with incorporating his soft style of art with a compleastly real looking box. The boxes even contain lifelike shipping and sorting labels. The story is a sweet rhyme about all the things a box can be in the hands of imaginative children. A time of a simple love of the creative that is contained within these pages works perfectly for any reader.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classroom-use
This is a fabulous book about imagination. Two kids and a dog have marvelous adventures with a box. They imagine it to be all kinds of things that you can see prompt stories and entertainment for themselves. The language is also written beautifully and would be a great mentor text for word choice and sentence fluency. Sometimes it doesn't take expensive technology to have fun, just a box and your imagination. Just ask my kitties.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
What can you do with a box? It can be your own personal art studio, or it could be a boat to take you to Paris. It could be a rocket to take you to the moon, or even your own library nook. The possibilities are endless so find a box and discover for yourself what you can do with it!

This book would be good for a unit on imagination.

It would be good for a unit on art.

It would also be good for science experimentation and building something new from the cardboard.
Erika L.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book to read alongside a recycled art activity. I enjoy the rhyme scheme, and the idea that the book is actually a box! After Toddler Storytime today, I let the kids use their imaginations to create whatever they wanted with different sized boxes, paper towel tubes, crayons, construction paper, and masking tape. The kids had a blast making different things, and hiding inside the boxes!
Brigitte Brulz
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Is it a box, or is it a book? It was a little challenging for me to figure out which order to read the pages at first, but I love the concept of unfolding the pages like a box. I also liked that the words "This end up" were changed to "The end", which I thought was fun and creative. This book is definitely a quick and easy read that will hopefully spark some imaginative play. Have you played with a box today?
Viviane Elbee
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The kids love boxes, so this book was a hit.

It's basically a rhyming poem about different creative things kids do with boxes.

The illustrations were fantastic.

Short enough that it can be read to toddlers, preschoolers and young elementary students.

There are other books about kids using boxes creatively, so it would be possible to group these "box" books together for a themed story time and craft activity.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in ...more