Roxaboxen

Author: Alice McLerran
Illustrator: Barbara Cooney

There’s just something about a kid making a fort that stimulates their imagination to a higher level. Forts can come in any number of shapes and sizes.  As kids we had forts under our beds, in boxes, under sheets spread over the dining room table, and in trees. I would guess our most elaborate forts were those we created when asked to rake leaves in the Fall. Rather than make piles, we would rake our leaves into rows of walls and rooms with doors and passageways. We’d eat and play in these forts for days at a time.

Reading the story of ROXABOXEN brought back all the memories of our forts in the leaf piles.  For you see, the children in this story really did create a magical world known as Roxaboxen on a hill on the southeast corner of Second Avenue and Eighth Street in Yuma, Arizona. And on this hillside the town of Roxaboxen grew – with its town hall, ice cream parlors (yes, there were two!), a jail with a floor of cactus and of course a mayor for keeping order.  There were also many “treasures” to be found among the homes in town, as only children with great imaginations can find.

There across the road it looked like any rocky hill –
but it was a special place.
Marian called it Roxaboxen.
 The town of Roxaboxen began to grow, traced in lines of stone,
Old wooden boxes could be shelves or tables or anything you wanted.
In fact, you may want to get an old sheet, spread it over a table for a fort, and begin reading this wonderful book right now!
1.  What was the “treasure” in the tin box, and how did the children use it?
2.  Explain how the children “traveled” through Roxaboxen.
3.  What facts show that the children were creative and imaginative?
Mary Byrne Kline

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