The Nowhwere Box: A book review

Cover art by Sam Zuppardi

SILVER SPRING, Md, April 27, 2014 – The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi follows a little boy named George who has had enough of his little brothers and needs an escape. The two younger boys were annoying George and followed him everywhere he went. In looking for a place to hide where his brothers could not follow, he discovered the giant box in which the new washing machine had just been delivered.

George decided the box was his perfect place to disappear. He took over the box, decorating it and cutting holes in it to make it his very own. When he was pleased with the result, he pressed one of his “buttons,” and the box took him to Nowhere.

At first there was nothing in Nowhere, but then George’s imagination took over, and the pages fill with the explorations of his imagination. First, the box is a roller-coaster card, than a rocket and then a pirate ship. George has the time of his life by himself. Meanwhile, his little brothers begin to look for him, but George was not in any of the usual places they follow him to.

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But while George had fun playing by himself, he began to get lonely in Nowhere. While he was not being bothered by his little brothers, he was not being bothered by anything. There were no enemy pirates to fight with, no dragons at the castle to defeat, and no one to play with at all. George realized that while his brothers may bug him, with his imagination he could make them be his adversaries, whatever the game and that made them indispensable playmates. So he left Nowhere in the box and returned home, where his younger brothers were thrilled to see him.

The Nowhere Box rings particularly true with parents. Every parent has seen the delight a child takes in a large empty box, and George’s Nowhere Box is the perfect embodiment of all the different ways a child can imagine their world with a box. Parents with multiple children can relate to the challenges that can come when one sibling wants to play and the other does not, and George’s relationship with his brothers rings true.

Author and illustrator Sam Zuppardi loves drawing cartoons, especially for children, and it shows. His work for the illustrations in this book utilizes a mixed media approach. He uses the medium to differentiate between George’s home and his imagination. The pictures for his home are two-dimensional colored drawings, but he adds collage, with the cardboard in particular, to the land of Nowhere. The exposed corrugated interior of the cardboard that is worked into the art adds a three-dimensionality to the page that really brings the land of imagination to life for the reader, drawing audiences into the adventures of Nowhere.

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Overall, this is a fun read that is appropriate for young children. There are few words per page so the story will keep the attention of younger audiences and older siblings will be able to relate to George’s plight. The book will also inspire your young audience, so be prepared for lots of imaginative play, even if you do not have a box readily available for a child to commandeer.

The Nowhere Box (ISBN: 978-0-7636-6367-4) by Sam Zuppardi was published on November 1, 2013 by Candlewick Press. It is currently only available in hardcover.

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