Thursday, June 9, 2011


We all know that the best part of a gift for most kids is the box. That's the premise of Ted Dewan's book Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All. I picked up the book at the prompting of the 1001 Books Challenge and am so glad I did. This might be my new favorite picture book.

When Crispin receives an empty box for Christmas he's disappointed. After all the amazing technological marvels that he's received (and broken) over the years, the box is nothing. He's particularly sad since the tag had said that "it was the very best thing in the whole wide world". Crispin is so disappointed that he drags the box outside to the trash. That's when two kids come along and ask to play with it. After some prodding Crispin finally lets them play and all together they have a ball playing make believe in the empty box. After the box gets rained on and collapses, Crispin takes his friends inside to play with his old broken toys and the new refrigerator box. He finally learns just how much fun friends (and imagination) can be.

This book had the absolute cutest story from beginning to end. Crispin is spoiled, and portrayed that way. In the beginning he's sitting in front of the TV slurping down ice cream and sugary drinks while his broken toys lay piled on the floor. He's whiny and lazy and destructive. At first when the kids try to play in his box, Crispin is furious. Finally they drag him into the game and from there on we see a completely different kid. The energy in this book was just so much fun. It's imaginative but very true to how some kids can be. Dewan throws in a ton of fun pop references so be on the lookout for Dr. Seuss, tomaguchi pets, Piggles (a new Pringles brand perhaps?), and telly-tubbies.

I loved the story but the artwork is just as much fun as the text. Dewan uses bright colors and fun shapes to make every part of the page exciting. Even Crispin's world before he found his friends is imaginative. But once they start playing the pages just light up. I particularly loved the adorable pig and the art deco house. And I love the games that they create. Wonderful colorful images to go with a sweet story.

I was the kind of kid who played for hours in empty boxes. I can make up a story to suit any occasion and often spent many an hour turning a coffee table into a canoe and a canopy bed into a castle. So this book was perfect for me. I'm reminded that with all my glitzy gizmos and entertainment options, friends and imagination are still the "very best things in the whole wide world."

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