Not a Box

Portis, Antoinette


HarperCollins, New York. 2006. 32 p.


Let me begin by saying this is one of my favorite books ever. It’s a strong statement, to be sure, but I mean it. This book is so simple that it’s genius. The design complements the story and vice versa, in a nicely done story for kids.


This book has two “characters”: the narrator or questioner and the bunny with the active imagination. The bunny has found himself a box which he imagines to be all sorts of things like a race car, space ship, a mountain, and more. Every time the questioner sees the bunny the questions begin. “Why are you sitting in a box?” “Now you’re wearing a box?” And every time the bunny replies, “It’s not a box.”


I’m sure there isn’t a child who hasn’t imagined an empty box to be all sorts of play things, and this book reminds us all of those simpler days. I love the dialogue between the questioner and the bunny, and I can see it being really fun to read aloud with a child. The illustrations are clean and simple and so is the premise. It’s simply perfect.