Magic in the Margins

Summer isn’t over yet, so here are a few books that capture the whimsical spirit of these final days of the season.  


Now Open the Box, by Dorothy Kunhardt; The New York Review of Children’s Books, $16.95, 72 pages, ages 4-7.


Before Clifford the Big Red Dog, there was little Peewee the circus dog. Originally published in 1934, Dorothy Kunhardt’s Now Open the Box tells the story of a beloved red canine and his opening act at the circus. 


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Now Open the Box by Dorothy Kunhardt. Reproduced with permission from the New York Review of Children’s Books © Dorothy Kunhardt.   


To beckon spectators, the ringmaster stands in front of a large red tent while holding a yellow box that fits in the palm of his hand.  Inside is Peewee. Although the tiny pooch can’t perform a single trick, everybody loves the cute canine, from circus-goers to fellow performers. Unfortunately the dog begins to grow, and this threatens his place under the big top.


The New York Review of Children’s Books has just reissued this book by the author of Pat the Bunny. A torrent of words, coupled with bright illustrations and simple sentences lend a childlike, innocent quality to the storytelling.  Kunhardt’s iconic line-drawn illustrations employ a basic color scheme of fire engine red, canary yellow, black and white. 


At times, the story may seem lengthy and very young children might lose patience, but most readers will enjoy following Peewee on his adventure extravaganza. Kunhardt aficionados will surely want to add this edition to their collection.  


More magical reviews and great illustrations from Now Open the Box are here.

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