Once there was a man who loved boxes. He also loved his young son, but because he did not know how to say so, he made things for his son out of boxes. Love is expressed in different ways and a small boy comes to understand his father's special way of showing his love for him.
When I first read this book, just to myself, I just skimmed over the words and didn't let them sink in. So on first glance, I didn't think much of it. But when it came to reading it to my 4 year old daughter, the words really hit me on the message that it was trying to make.
With it's bright images and fun graphics, it kept a 4 year olds attention for the entire book, and even beyond when we talked about the story. So many stories we have come across which are just that...stories. This one was different; it tells a story with a life lesson in it. One thing we like to teach our daughters is that there is more than one way to say I love you. It's not always in those three words, but in acts and gestures.
This book is the perfect example of how to show and express how you love someone without using the words. That the parental bond between parent and child is so strong, sometimes it can not be put into words. After talking this story over with Miss 4, she came and gave me a great big hug and said I hug you because I love you, that's how I show you. If a book and get a simple message across like this to a 4 year old, it is a winner in my eyes.
When I saw that The Man Who Loved Boxes was had been re-released to celebrate 21 years since it was first released I knew that it was a good book. Publishers don't bother re-releasing books that no one liked. I have read a few of Stephen Michael King's books and have always enjoyed both his writing and illustrations.
My 7 1/2 year old daughter was keen to help me review this. When I asked her to score the book she gave it 10/10 in every category. I love that as a reluctant reader she was willing and able to read the whole book by herself. She liked how clever the man was at making so many different creations from boxes. She also noticed that the inside of the front and back cover were made to look like the corrugated board of a box. When she was asked if she wanted to keep the book or donate it she chose to keep it "Because I really, really like it and want to read it again."
As a parent I like the simple message that it doesn't matter what other people think of you. The important thing is the love you have. So often we forget this and it takes a children's book to remind us. There is also the reminder that the best thing we can spend on your children is our time. I can see why this book was reprinted. It is a timeless classic that with it's simple story and pictures touches us all.
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Evelyn Waugh (1903 - 1966)