Though we try to avoid all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving in our house, our girls are definitely already feeling the Christmas fever… They’ve even already written letters to Santa Claus! I feel like no matter how hard parents might try to keep the focus of the holiday season on the holidays themselves and on kindness and giving to others, children work really hard to divert that focus towards the gifts they’re hoping to receive. So, I was thrilled to receive The Gift Inside the Box by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun, from Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House). Because it’s not a Christmas book, we’ve been reading it already, and I’m loving the emphasis on giving and thinking of others.
In The Gift Inside the Box, husband-and-wife team the Grants bring us the story of a cardboard box who lands on earth focused solely on finding the right person to open him. Many a child find the box and assume it’s for them, but the box always manages to get away, still looking for that just right person. It’s not until the end that the box is satisfied the right child has finally found him — spoiler alert, it’s the child who wants to give the box to someone else!
The Sweets have filled this book with puns and humor that lighten the mood, allowing this to read like a light-hearted story with a valuable message instead of a heavy teaching book. While my girls don’t get many of these puns yet, they have me giggling every time (such as watching the box run away from the dog saying, “I’ve got no bones to pick with you,” and fleeing puzzle-loving child while scattering flowers and thinking, “Piece out!”).
The illustrations are similarly light and humorous, with lots of white space that brings our focus to the box and each greedy child along the way. And, the design of the book is so stinking clever, opening almost like the flap on the top of a box!
If you liked this, check out:
- Thank You, Bear by Greg Foley — perfect for your youngest audience!
- A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards — you can read my review here.
- The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett — you can read my review here.
- Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
- What is Given from the Heart by Patricia McKissack
What books do you love reading with your kids to help them hone their gifts of generosity?
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