The Box Cars: Book Review

Two friends have so much fun with their creative play in cardboard box cars...but what happens when three want to play? Does someone need to miss out?

Title: The Box Cars
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Cara King
ISBN: 9781925335835         Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Themes: friendship, inclusiveness, creativity, imagination

What's it about?
The Box Cars is a story about two young boys who love playing in their pretend cars made from cardboard boxes. Then one day at the park they meet Eve who cheers them on and they invite her to have a turn. But they only have two cars and there are three of them...and then disaster strikes and the fun ends.

There is a great diversity of characters in this book but at the heart is shows that they are all children and nearly all children love playing with boxes (well, mine both do). This book encourages the use of simple toys, creativity, imaginative play, and including others through sharing and thought.

Nothing today

My Thoughts
This would make a great addition to any kindy (preschool) library or reception to grade 1. I personally would use it at the start of the year during those initial few weeks of setting up the classroom and expectations.

There are a few different angles that can be used in the classroom (or at home) with this book. The first I'm going to focus on is creativity. How many times have you bought your child something and they spend more time playing with the box vs the toy? Yep, I think most parents would admit to being there. I remember as a kid when supermarkets used to have all those boxes to pack your groceries in (they went the way of the dodo bird for a while when plastic bags took over but have recently started reappearing in some shops). A box can be anything at all and I love how this book shows the two boys working together to decorate their boxcars. I can imagine setting a smaller task for the class using matchboxes and asking them to make it into a toy - the planning and possibilities would be a great way of introducing a cross-curricular unit that could encompass STEAM activities.

Inclusiveness is shown on at least two levels in this book.
1. The kids are from different ethnic backgrounds
2. The invited someone on their own to join in

This month we celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day and so this is one of those books that shows that diversity in a subtle way. It reminds me a bit of the book Visiting You that I published last year in how it includes a range of characters well. I could also see this book being used as a companion to The Name Jar in they both have characters who include/befriend someone.

On the second point sensing another's desire to join in on a game isn't natural for many kids - this is a learned skill that they see from watching others (Children See, Children Do). Last last year the book Invisible Jerry was released and if you are focusing on this side of the inclusion in the book then I would highly recommend using it with that book.

This is not a long book which is what makes it so perfect for the younger children. My four-year-olds were keen to read this one when we opened the box - ultimately my son grabbed it first recognising the "cars" straight away. Any book that sparks that Text-to-Self recognition is great because the child is so much more willing to read it.

A book for any kindy/preschool and junior primary libraries that I  think would work well as a gift as a birthday present as well.

Special thanks to EKBooks for providing me with an ARC.


  1. Thank you so much for such a thorough review. Much appreciated. :-)

  2. Sounds fantastic! I love how you linked it to other books and learning activities. Look forward to reading it!

  3. I have a little boy who loves playing in boxes - I think I’ll get this for his birthday in March!