Book Reviews

Book Review: Christina Katerina and the Box

Here’s a blast from the past! Patricia Lee Gauch’s 1971 classic Christina Katerina and the Box. It is actually older than I (barely :)).  I enjoyed the story as a girl, it’s one that I have really clear memories about.  Now my daughters love the book.

It’s the story of a girl who gets her mother’s refrigerator box and creates a castle out of it.  It breaks, thanks to her friend Fats Watson and her mother drags the box to the corner for the garbage.  Christina drags it back and creates something new, Fats breaks it, Mom drags it, and Christina creates again.  This cycle continues to a delightful resolution.

It’s such a lovely book about imaginative play.  As a girl I dreamed of having a big box, and since reading it to my girl, she keeps begging me for one too.

So, what would you do with a big box?


The author, Patricia Lee Gauch has written and worked on over 40 children’s books.  From an article published by California Kids! in 2005,  I was impressed by the following;

[Gauch] strives to create books that have a sense of shape. According to Gauch, creating a book is a musical experience. “There’s a rhythm and a rightness of things.” For example, she says, “There’s a shape to a Bach prelude with its rise and fall and the feeling that now is the time for the rise and fall.” The same concept applies to good stories.

Gauch definitely wrote a classic, with a rhythm and shape that I find lacking in a lot of recent children’s books.

What books do you remember from childhood, and why?  Do they have that sort of  rhythm and shape to them?  Am I crazy to say that it is missing lately in some children’s books?  (Discuss…let me give you a topic… to quote SNL’s Coffee Talk.)

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