Monday, November 23, 2015


Boxes are incredibly useful and somewhat mystical things. Without boxes, birthdays would be less exciting, we’d have a heck of a time on moving day and Schrodinger would have no problem knowing if his cat were dead or alive. Thankfully, we have boxes and my new picture book, Do Not Open The Box!, is a story about one boy and a box. Benny comes across a very large box with a sign on it that says “Do Not Open.” Benny is curious and thinks of all kinds of things that could be in the box, both good and bad, and has to decide whether to give in to temptation and open it.

There are many books about boxes and their plots are as different as the number of things you could find in a box. For example, Too Many Toys by David Shannon, Not A Box by Antoinette Portis or The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli tell very unique stories about what kids do with boxes.

Writing Exercise:
Put a box on a table. Ask students to write two lists of what they think could be in the box. One list will be things that would realistically be in the box. The other will be a fantasy list of what they’d like to be in the box. Examine the differences between the possible and the impossible.

Art Exercise:
The students can pick an item from each list and draw a picture of a dragon eating cupcakes or monsters reading textbooks.

Timothy Young has been an animator, puppet maker, toy designer, sculptor, art director and graphic designer. He’s designed for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the Muppets, The Simpsons, Disney, and Universal Studios. Tim is the author/illustrator of 6 picture books including Shadows On My Wall, The Angry Little Puffin and the highly acclaimed I Hate Picture Books!. His latest, Do Not Open The Box, will be released on January 23rd, 2016. He lives with his family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Find out more about him and his books at

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