Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple Things Inspire Hours of Entertainment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Simple Things Inspire Hours of Entertainment

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union staff writer

All parents are familiar with the Box Game. It is the one that commences soon after a pile of unwrapped toys forms on the living room floor after a birthday party or holiday celebration.

As remote-controlled cars and building blocks sit idle, children play with the boxes in which they came. Toddlers crawl in and out of them and don them as hats. Elementary-schoolers get out crayons and construction paper to transform the box into a doll house or line it with felt to hold a collection of shells or baseball cards or gum wrappers.

Then there's the Super Box Game, the occasional bonanza that happens after the fridge or stove is replaced. The huge box is transformed into a fort or a house or a general store.

Today's first selection reminded me of the Box Game and how something simple can entertain kids for hours with nothing more than their imaginations.

-- Title: In My New Yellow Shirt

-- Author and illustrator: Eileen Spinelli/Hideko Takahashi,

-- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

-- Price: $15.95

-- Ages: 3 to 6

When a boy, the unnamed protagonist of the book, gets a plain yellow shirt as a birthday gift, his friend Sam remarks that it is a boring gift.

The birthday boy knows better. Here is what he thinks.

In my new yellow shirt, I'm a duck quacking, splashing through a big puddle of sun. In my new yellow shirt, I am a lion stalking Mrs. Miller's garden, scaring the crows with my roar! Watch out! Now, I'm a taxi -- HONK! HONK! -- zooming down the street.

A few other transformations the shirt makes possible are a tropical fish, a napping caterpillar, a daffodil and a tennis ball.

What a fun story. Parents could read it to children and then suggest making a trunk for playing dress up. You will need a cardboard box -- of course. …

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