The Nowhere Box

Sam Zuppardi. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6367-4
Even in our screen-dominant age, the arrival of a big cardboard box can still be momentous for a kid. For George, a washing machine box with hand-drawn button controls becomes a combination transporter, transmogrifier, and (most important) a refuge from his bratty younger brothers—until, of course, he realizes their value as playmates. Making his picture book debut, Zuppardi, whose exuberantly scrawled pencil line and variegated palette is reminiscent of David Shannon, finds a rich source of inspiration in cardboard, painting and manipulating it to create George’s pretend adventures. A ride on a scream-worthy rollercoaster made from looped and twisted cardboard leads to a rocket ship zooming through a mini-galaxy, which in turn becomes a swashbuckling scene on the high seas, with spirals of corrugated material forming the cresting, churning waves. Although the text doesn’t come close to the originality of the visuals (“Nowhere was amazing! Nowhere was magnificent! Nowhere was stupendous!”), readers probably won’t notice. They’ll be too busy asking their grownups, “Don’t we need a new refrigerator or something?” Ages 4–8. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
Genre: Children's
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