Is there anything as exciting as a cardboard box? This kid wouldn’t think so.

Title: The Birthday Box
Author: Leslie Patricelli
Genre
: Picture book
Age: 0 – 6

Summary and Review:

I love this book.  It’s quite possibly my favorite picture book.  (I know, I know, I’ve said that about other books.  But this one, well, just take a look at it for yourself.)  The pictures are wonderfully cute and spare.  The writing is just as spare, eloquent in just a few words, which takes great talent.  But the best part is simply the kid himself–a kid who unwraps his birthday present to find a cardboard box–and he’s so excited!  It’s a airplane!  A boat!  A robot costume!  A great place to take a nap–which he takes (and I love this part) with the stuffed dog he later finds inside the box.  Not even considering for a moment that the dog was the actual present, the boy simply gives the dog a name and excitedly shows him the box.  Brilliant.  Genius.  I could read it over and over again.  (And I do.)

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

No, no, no.  Don’t have a conversation.  Just get out a cardboard box and have fun.  Decorate it, cut it, get inside of it.  Copy the activities of the boy in the book or come up with your own.  My guess is that your child will teach you as much about what the box is as you will.  Just have fun!

And while the whole point is to use a plain box and your imagination, for another time, I encourage you to check out one of my favorite kid websites (Green Party Goods), which has recycled (and recyclable) play structures made out of cardboard.  No giant plastic thing in your living room.  And when they are down with it, it goes in the recycling…. http://bit.ly/ahMXJJ.

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