Boxitects – written and illustrated by Kim Smith

  Boxitects – written and illustrated by Kim Smith, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328477200, 2020 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  Meg is a boxitect; she lives to make things out of cardboard. Having raised several boxitects myself, many things about this story rang true to me. Meg enjoys planning her creations and we’re shown all her tools (scissors, tape, paint and markers as well as an astonishing array of boxes. Mom sends Meg to Maker School (which looks like an after school program, populated by “blanketeers, spaghetti-tects, tin-foilers and egg-cartoners”) and everything goes well until another boxitect named Simone shows up. Competition ensues and almost ends in disaster, but the two girls manage to work out a compromise and, of course, build even better stuff. Meg and Simone are both girls of color and the whole Maker School looks like a diversity parade, although there are no children with disabilities. The cheerful and slick digital artwork contains lots of detail and texture and the book ends with some directions for beginning boxitects.

Anything you didn’t like about it? A final scene that shows the girls joining forces contains the caption “But they had a different way of making brilliant and creative things — working together” just seemed preachy and unnecessary. The artwork and story make this conclusion perfectly well. Also, in my experience, real boxitects will probably need to use a box cutter with adult assistance, not scissors.

To whom would you recommend this book?  A good book for teachers looking to encourage teamwork and compromise. Like Rosie Revere Engineer or The Most Magnificent Thing, this book could easily find its way into STEM curriculum.

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools, public libraries 

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: January 15, 2020


This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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