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Although on the surface, ?The Big Box? may appear to be a story about three children who had misbehaved and were sent to their rooms without dinner, it is really much more a book to inspire deep thought about our society and how children are being raised, controlled and discarded. It demonstrates how blatant consumerism and products attempt to substitute for love, attention and real life experiences. This is a great book to promote a deep critical discussion among teachers, parents and the youth themselves that can begin to pose serious questions and construct new alternatives. The book brings into question the concept of ?freedom? and what it means to be free and who is in fact free. The reader must consider how often this society ignores the real needs of its youth and why so many young people are being criminalized and incarcerated? What can we all do to change this? What does the "Big Box" represent for each of us?
Publishers Weekly, 2002-10-07 In what PW called "a social commentary on childhood," two girls and a boy live in a "big brown box" with a door that has "three big locks"; they have been sent there by adults who think they "can't handle their freedom." Ages 8-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1999-07-12 Nobel laureate Morrison's debut book for children unfortunately shows little of the childlike perspective that so masterfully informs The Bluest Eye. This enigmatic tale, written in verse, is inspired by a story made up by Morrison's then nine-year-old son. The opening scene depicts two girls and a boy who live in a "big brown box" with a door that has "three big locks." The trio have been sent there by adults who think they "can't handle their freedom." Suburban Patty has "too much fun in school all day" ("When we pledged to the flag, she'd spoil it"); urban Mickey writes his name on mailbox lids and plays handball next to a sign that forbids the game; and country girl Liza Sue lets the chickens keep their eggs and feeds honey to the bees. Each child, when told that he or she has overstepped the bounds, counters with the identical unchildlike response: "I know you are smart and I know that you think/ You're doing what is best for me./ But if freedom is handled just your way/ Then it's not my freedom or free." The parents, never visible visiting the box, nonetheless leave behind plenty of parting gifts (e.g., "Blimpies and Frisbees... and Matchbox cars that go"). In the final scene, the children, inexplicably, easily clamber over the sides of the big brown box to freedom. Potter's (Gabriella's Song) handsome illustrations in a postmodern folk-art style possess an austere simplicity, effectively marking the contrast to the adults' commercial bribes littering the floor. But ultimately the tale is mundane; the social commentary on childhood, freedom and the tendency of parents to give children things instead of time and attention seems aimed more at adult readers than children. Ages 8-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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