Not a Box Book Poster Image

Not a Box



Loveable bunny helps us see things differently.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Encourages imagination and creative play.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this award-winning book will delight your kids from start to finish. The simple drawings and storyline do just what a children's book is supposed to do -- force readers to stretch their imaginations.

What's the story?

Dedicated \"to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,\" Not a Box starts even before the actual story begins, as the protagonist bunny drags and pushes his box through the title and dedication pages. \ \

After that, each page opposite a drawing of the bunny and his box poses a question, \"Why are you sitting in a box?\" or \"What are you doing on top of that box?\" Flip the page, and you see that the bunny isn't just sitting in a box or standing on top of one; he's actually sitting in a race car or standing on top of a snow-capped mountain. With the stretch of his imagination, he transforms something as simple as a cardboard box into an adventurous situation.

\ In the end, he dismisses the voice that's questioning his prop and travels in his box (a.k.a. rocket ship) into space.

Is it any good?


The cute yet simple line-drawn bunny of NOT A BOX acts as the main character, transforming his box into portals of exciting scenarios. He's seen driving in a race car, standing on top of a mountain, riding in a hot-air balloon or a rocket. Although the drawings are nothing to write home about, somehow, out of author/illustrator Antoinette Portis' extreme minimalism, we see just how sweet -- and sassy -- the bunny is. We feel his frustration when he has to explain what the box really is at that moment in his play world.

However straightforward the message is, it's hard to dismiss. What makes Not a Box memorable is the way that it doesn't let you lose your creative grip on the importance of imagination -- and the fact that it's not such a good idea to squelch anyone else's imagination, either. Just like the bunny, everyone should get the chance to make it to the moon.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to turn ordinary household objects into extraordinary ones. What would your box become: A submarine? A school? An airplane? Families can talk to older kids about why the bunny gets frustrated when people don't understand that his box isn't just a regular box.

Book details

Author:Antoinette Portis
Illustrator:Antoinette Portis
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:December 12, 2006
Number of pages:32
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

This review of Not a Box was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byzisewan April 10, 2009

I need it for AAAA JOOOOB!

I reaaaaaaaally want to review this book. I bought one already, but I missed it and I need it now. right now!
Parent of a 3, 5, 8, 15, and 15 year old Written byangeles March 4, 2009

necesito leerlo aun no lo he leido

mi hijo fue quien lo estudio y le gusto mucho es por eso que yo estoy interesada en leerlo
Kid, 7 years old April 5, 2013


What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?