First published in Great Britain, this concept book from a seasoned author and debut illustrator follows a feline as it explores a variety of boxes.
Size, color, and design are among the ideas contrasted through simple rhymes—a structure that will have youngsters participating enthusiastically as they become attuned. Hart and Underwood think outside the box for many of their choices, so there are surprises along the way. A lightweight cube presents itself as a pedestal or potential “Cat box?” Soon, however, it becomes a “Flat box” underneath the dazed creature. Later, the animal places each paw in a separate “Shoe box?” and looks quite silly while adding a pink “Hat box?” This ensemble leads to some “Slippy…Slidey” movement that places the protagonist next to a brown container with a tiny, nibbled hole; a lively chase ensues. The gray, green-eyed feline figure is easy to spot against the changing colors of the backgrounds, and there are enough textures and patterns to maintain visual interest throughout the simple narrative. The repetition of “box” and the clipped, mostly two-word phrases make this one that readers will have a hard time not chanting as they read aloud.
Boxes, a cat-and-mouse romp, a concluding snuggle between “new friends”—toddler bliss. (Picture book. 1-4)