Boy In A Box

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
216 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite

Boy In A Box is a fantasy tale by Doug Weller. Mara has always gotten every toy she wanted from her doting but often busy dad. She prided herself on being a fantastic toy collector and wanted to be world-famous someday. On her birthday she was given the ultimate gift: a DupliKate! Every DupliKate doll is a replica of its owner. It is hard to buy so Mara was thrilled to have it! Unfortunately, her dad made one big mistake when he got her the doll. Mara was so upset! She didn’t think there was anything her dad could do to make it up to her until she got an email about an 'Annual Toys and Curios Auction' happening soon. This was an opportunity for her to find more toys for her collection! Little did she know that by going to that auction she would meet someone who would change her perception of the world as she knew it.

Boy In A Box is a unique fantasy-adventure tale that will be enjoyed by adults and children alike! Despite having a lot of expensive toys most kids would be jealous of, Mara only had one friend: Landon. I sympathized with her lonely situation. Without a mother and with her father always busy, she focused instead on filling up the empty part of her heart by collecting toys. This is a spectacular story filled with important lessons about kindness, family, and friends that will stick with me. There was never a boring moment. Reading about Mara’s growth and experiences filled me with contentment and delight. Beneath her obsessive desire for toys was a strong, witty, and clever young girl brave enough to make amends for her mistakes. The narrative was easy to follow and enticing to read. There are not enough words to express how much I adored and enjoyed this story! The plot was exhilarating and surprising and it was exciting to follow Mara and her friends’ adventures. This book was hard to put down once I started and I am looking forward to more ingenious work from Doug Weller.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Have you ever wondered about Jack in the box that young children love to wind up, complete with music, with a top that pops open to reveal a small figure, usually a clown of some description? What if there were a real Jack living in a box? A real little boy, shrunken in size and kept stalled in time for eternity, living in a magical box. Mara, a young girl who loves toys, not for playing, but for collecting, finds her ultimate toy with a thirteen-sided box that opens to reveal a real little boy named Jack. She thinks he’s a toy; he insists he’s a real little boy and he wants to find his sister, Rosie. But he’s afraid of the white-haired man who trapped him inside the box and there’s a whole lot of danger around his identity and the identity of the white-haired man, the ultimate toy collector with the massive toy-tarium collection. So, who is this Jack living in the box? And will one very spoiled little rich girl – that’s Mara – come out of her selfish shell of existence and do some real research to solve the mystery?

Doug Weller’s young people’s fantasy novel, Boy in a Box, is a classic. Told in a riveting third-person narrative, the plot follows Mara, the rich girl with the best toy collection money can buy – at least for now. With underlying themes of coming of age, learning to care and help others, and thinking about others before yourself, this simple but compelling and engaging story will have readers of all ages fascinated to the very end. Character development, narrative descriptions, and dialogue are both believable and engaging. The reader definitely feels a part of the story. Like Lynne Reid Banks’ classic, The Indian in the Cupboard, this story will enthrall young readers of all ages for many years to come. Loved it!

Essien Asian

Mara Miller's love of toys goes beyond what one would expect of a little girl. Her collection of dolls includes rare action figures that are unopened and preserved in pristine condition just like a collector's library. Her father promised her a special doll for her birthday but things did not go according to plan. When she finds an unusual box with a pint-sized boy in it while inspecting the Kokotos Towers, she immediately knows that she has found the perfect toy. Appearances can be deceiving as her perfect doll may not be a toy after all. Mara intends to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding this unusual boy while trying to avoid the clutches of the mysterious Gatherer in Doug Wheller's Boy In A Box.

Boy In A Box is a children's adventure story by Doug Wheller. The storyline is quite deep for a tale targeted at younger readers as it is not so easy to predict the direction the story takes as it progresses. The characters that make up the tale are an interesting bunch. Mara's selfish attitude toward her father's friends and staff creates the perfect subplot for a lesson on the importance of morals and the enigmatic Tansy Card's distracted conversations had the authentic aura of a crazy inventor. Doug Wheller's style of telling this story creates a cloud of suspense around it that gets heavier as it approaches the climax but what stands out for me is the way he expounds on the interpersonal relationships between the characters, expertly bringing out their emotional failings in a manner that I could easily relate to. Boy In A Box is an exciting story that children will immediately fall in love with. Credit must go to Doug Wheller for a one-of-a-kind novel.

Kayleigh Perumal

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Mara Miller is a spoilt and insufferable young girl who is obsessed with collecting unique toys. Although they are her most prized possessions, Mara never takes them out of their packaging or plays with them. Mara’s father Christopher is too busy selling houses to spend time with his daughter, so he buys her anything and everything that she wants. When Mara visits the home of a special collector named The Gatherer, she comes across a toy like no other that she simply must have for herself, even if it means “borrowing” it. Jack looks and sounds exactly like a real boy, except he is only six inches high and is confined to a container called a Dodecabox. The Gatherer will stop at nothing to get the Dodecabox back. Will Mara be able to evade the Gatherer’s greedy clutches and figure out the mystery behind the boy in the box?

Doug Weller has written a compelling and extraordinary tale that I found impossible to put down. The toys that the author created in Boy in a Box are so unusual that I almost wish they existed. The description of the Gatherer’s Toy-Tarium is also fascinating. Weller also highlights the need for more socially conscious behavior through the example of Mara. She learns that not everyone can afford her lavish lifestyle and that many people are often the victims of circumstance. This is a perfect choice if you enjoy a good mystery with a dash of fantasy. Boy in a Box by Doug Weller is a brilliant read for any age group.

Edith Wairimu

The enthralling children’s science fiction story, Boy in a Box by Doug Weller, follows a girl’s exciting adventures as she traces a toy’s origins. After realizing his daughter is disappointed in her birthday present, successful real estate businessman Christopher Miller agrees to buy her the perfect replacement. The pursuit to find the perfect toy leads Mara Miller to a fascinating collection where she finds the most unique toy. Mara is surprised when the boy in the box begins to speak to her like a real person. Intrigued at Jack’s life-like nature, Mara is determined to find out who he is and where he came from. Mara, however, finds out that someone else is after Jack. She must learn more about him while trying to sidestep the scary man.

Woven into the plot are invaluable lessons about showing kindness and respect to other people and learning to be content that both adults and children will find useful. I loved seeing Mara’s growth throughout the story and found her conversations with Jack entertaining. Their adventures are suspenseful and captivating and many surprising details emerge at the end. Mara’s friend, Landon, and other characters are great additions to the story. The plot culminates in a beautiful ending that readers will find satisfying. Boy in a Box by Doug Weller is a thrilling children’s book with practical lessons and entertaining characters. Young readers will enjoy Mara and Jack’s exhilarating adventures and conversations and will learn crucial lessons along the way. Recommended for all readers.