Jessica’s box – review

Written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas.


New Frontier publishing. Cerebral Palsy Alliance edition, re-released 2013.


Paperback, ISBN 9781921928581

A book that takes you on a journey, ending with a child who smiles as she finds out about herself

This charming story book is all about Jessica and the friendships she hopes to make as she starts school and will spark the imagination of preschool and kindergarten children. Author and illustrator, Peter Carnavas, has captured some of the fearful feelings young children have when they begin in a new situation and as they find ways to adjust.

Jessica comes up with an idea, she takes a large brown box to school and over a few days we see what happens as children react to what is inside the box. Jessica thinks of different special things to put inside. At first it doesn’t turn out as Jessica would like leading to sadness and disappointment. Dejected Jessica plonks the box on her head only to find she has started a game of hide and seek with a new friend.

Written in a warm tone, Jessica’s family encourage her as she thinks of ideas and a cute little dog and bird accompany her. The supportive family are delighted when Jessica finds a new friend. Jessica is bright, creative and energetic and readers are taken to an imaginative childhood place.
Peter Carnavas’ illustrations really compliment the story. The bright water colours followed by sepia blues and greys, show both the energy and expression of being a child and the disappointment and sadness that can follow when friendships don’t form.

Altogether this is a book that takes you on a journey, ending with a child who smiles as she finds out about herself, learning she is the best thing to come out of the brown box.

An award winning Australian book and this edition was commissioned for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The text is identical to the earlier editions, however the illustrations here show Jessica in a wheel chair, and so this will be useful for primary schools and kindergartens focusing on social inclusion.  A media release for the book describes why it is a good fit for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s school disability awareness program Just Like You!

This mini edition is small enough for children to hold whilst in school reading groups and there is a larger special hardcopy.

Jessica’s box is available for loan from the AWCH Library.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
October 2015