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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Spooky Box, written and illustrated by Mark Gonyea. Henry Holt, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2013. $16.99 ages 4 and up

"I HOPE it's
not HAUNTED...

OKAY, I'm going
to OPEN it.


Although you can't really tell from the above book cover, Mark Gonyea uses graphic stencil art in a black, white and orange palette to create this highly entertaining and interactive book for young listeners. He dedicates it 'for everyone who loves thinking of endless possibilities'. Then, he creates a perfect book for exactly those who will share it.

The angles are sharp, the fonts are clear and often loud! When a box is discovered on the doorstep following a doorbell announcement, the wondering begins. It has no labels and the receivers are offered no clue to its sender. It is, in fact, a bit spooky that no one knows what is inside.

But, we can wonder, and imagine, and surmise, and even hazard a strong guess at what it contains. Could it be bats? or rats? or spiders? Truly, it could be anything that is not bigger than the box itself.
With all of the possibilities, it is a bit of daunting task to work up the courage to check it out.

Bravery wins out, and the box is opened only to find two more boxes inside! Now, what? The boxes are smaller, so the guesses must be scaled down to something that could actually fit within these new spaces. Want to know what is really inside? You might be surprised!

The possibilities are endless, and include allowing those who share it to create their own box and contents. Imaginations will run wild. The more materials available, the more creative the results.  Sheer delight!

Erin told me about this book, and I was quick to order two for me and one for my wonderful and wacky friend Val, grade one and two teacher extraordinaire. Luckily, it arrived on my doorstep today and I knew exactly what it was. No guessing for me. I would, however, love to be a fly on the wall when she shares it with her students tomorrow at their Halloween party!

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