Not a Box
By Antoinette Portis
Bunny sure has fun with a cardboard box but some people just don’t understand. When repeatedly asked why he is playing with the box, Bunny makes it clear that the box can become whatever he wants it to be, whether it is a rocket, robot, or racecar. It is his Not-A-Box!
Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion
By Caitlin Granahan
Not A Box raises questions about the imagination. How do we use our imagination? This book provides a great example of how someone can play with an object and pretend it is many things, as well as providing a great basis to evoke a discussion about the role of imagination in our everyday lives.
The Nature of the Imagination is something that philosophers have been debating about for years, raising questions about how it works and how we are able to distinguish between pretend and real-life. Do we imagine consciously or unconsciously? How do we know when we are imagining? Imagination also affects how we view and react to things such as art, films, and theater. We interpret each of these things through our imagination, and our interpretations are often different from one another. This is something that the kids should be prompted to explore.
Philosophers have also pondered whether we can imagine things that we have not experienced ourselves. If we have not experienced them, then how do we know about them? Related to this idea, philosophers have often deliberated over whether or not we can imagine about things that do not exist in reality already which leads us to think about how new inventions come about. Some philosophers argue that those new things which are invented actually do exist in reality since they are usually made up of components that already exist.
The Nature of Fiction has also been addressed by several philosophers. Are our imaginings just fictional worlds? Can the fictional worlds we create ever become reality? Some are inclined to think the imagination is a great indication of possibility arguing that we are unable to imagine impossibilities. Philosophers have addressed the way in which we create fictional worlds as well, whether it is through game playing, acting, or art. Allowing the children explore this idea of fiction and the imagination will enable them to explore the different ways in which they relate to things just as art and make-believe.
Questions for Philosophical Discussion
In the story, the narrator asks, “Why are you sitting in a box?” The bunny then insists that, “It’s not a box.”
In the story, the narrator states “Now you’re wearing a box? But again, the bunny insists, “This is not a box.”
Near the end of the story, the narrator asks bunny, “Are you still standing around in that box?” and bunny yells, “It’s NOT NOT NOT NOT a box!”