awards, reviews, and hoorays:

experts, bloggers, and families celebrate:
blue manatee boxes are perfect gifts
for babies and young children!

Dr. Toy Best Green ProductDr. Toy Best Green Product

The prestigious Dr. Toy seal promotes educationally oriented, developmental and skill building gifts and products from the best large and small companies, worldwide. "Distinguishes your company and its products as a green company dedicated to providing environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional toys as well as educating children, parents and teachers about the environment."   See the list here!

Cool Mom Picks Ultimate Baby Shower Gift GuideCool Mom Picks Ultimate Baby Shower Gift Guide

Each year, cool moms at Cool Mom Picks search high and low for the best baby shower gift ideas (such as children's books!) so busy moms and dads don't have to - the coolest gifts for new babies and the parents who love them.  The guide lives here (note an amazing children's book gift box that rocks midway down on the right...)

The Reading TubThe Reading Tub

A non-profit blog committed to great children's books and literacy, " help kids reach their full potential and become successful readers."  Read this Author Showcase interview with blue manatee's Dr. John about blue manatee boxes and his award-winning children's book series Baby Unplugged!


"...the books come packaged in an awesome, low-tech, plain ol’ cardboard box filled with biodegradable packing noodles, a sponge, a crayon, an instructional insert that encourages creative play and environmentally sound behavior, and (of course) the books."  Read the review plus awesome resources for Evidence-Based Parenting here!

Science of MomScience of Mom

"Who needs an iPad when you have a cardboard box and some good children's books?"  Read the review here, in this excellent blog dedicated to the science (and art) of parenting - debunking myths and providing useful advice.

Kiddies Corner DealsKiddies Corner Deals

"...I was thrilled to hear about blue manatee boxes with Baby Unplugged books in was right after my baby’s first birthday, so it was really fun to design the package just for him and include a little birthday note. The ordering was fun for me (and the shipping was super quick), but the real fun came when the box arrived at our house…"  Read the full review here!

Mrs. Mommy Product BloggerMrs. Mommy Product Blogger

"...I recently had the good fortune of finding out about blue manatee boxes. This company ships gift boxes of books, custom tailored to your child's age and preferences, right to your front door!"  Read the full review here!

The Reynolds MomThe Reynolds Mom

"bue manatee boxes are an amazing gift for young children and babies this holiday season. Inside each box is a selection of hand-picked, age-appropriate books that will inspire, delight, and encourage a love of reading from the very start..."  Read the full review here!

{Not Quite} Susie Homemaker {+ gift guide!}{Not Quite} Susie Homemaker {+ gift guide!}

" manatee boxes are a unique way to give the gift of reading - you can go to their website and either choose a themed box {such as ArtBox, BabyBox, and CritterBox} or create your own by selecting from over 150 books, including all of the 'Baby Unplugged' books..."  Read the whole review here! 
Featured in the Holiday Gift Guide, too!


"...a perfect Holiday gift for babies!  blue manatee boxes are a sweet, simple gift concept for kids 3 and under featuring hand-picked children's board books in a package that is not only 100% eco-friendly, but 100% designed to be played with. They are also unique and cool..."  Read the whole review here!

Soapbox CincinnatiSoapbox Cincinnati

"Thinking inside the box pays off for Oakley's Blue Manatee: Kids love to turn boxes into toys. The experts at Blue Manatee in Oakley turned that inevitability into an award-winning gift product that stimulates imaginations while it promotes local businesses and sustainability..."  Read the article here!

A Mom's TakeA Mom's Take

"My boys were thrilled when their blue manatee box arrived!...This box really is packed with creativity. The included children's board books had stories my boys loved to hear and it really encouraged reading and spending time together. Of course, reading also inspired lots of questions and learning, too!" Read the full review here!

Geek MomGeek Mom

"The first thing I noticed is that the selection of children's books is wonderfully curated...And it helps that blue manatee makes the gift-giving process so simple. Time to get that library started! manatee boxes are (also) perfect for babies who have an older sibling...Obviously, babies aren’t going to make cardboard robots any time soon, but giving the baby’s older brother or sister a cool project to do is a gift to everyone."  Read the rest here!

mommin' it up!mommin' it up!

" manatee boxes make great gifts because you can customize the box with any books you want to! It comes it awesome, re-usable eco-friendly packaging (complete with play ideas for the box!) and a custom gift message..."  Read the full review here!  


"We sure did have a good time with this review...If you have kids, it’s a great rainy day/snowed in day activity.  It would make a really fun birthday gift to send to a special someone that lives far away.  It would cheer up a sick little one too."  Read the rest (including great photos and a cool video) here!

Momformation blogMomformation blog

"...Think of it as the coolest book-of-the-month club for kids. Yes, it’s really that simple. Age appropriate books for kids under three that come in a reusable box that kids can play with and draw on." Read the rest here! 

Cool Mom PicksCool Mom Picks

"We joke a lot about how our kids sometimes would rather play with the box a present comes in than the actual present. The thing is... it's not always a joke. And one company has taken that idea on, big time.  blue manatee boxes are amazing to their book-filled cores..."  The whole, cool review lives here!

Leslie Loves VeggiesLeslie Loves Veggies

"...They’re a gift of children's books inside an absolutely adorable 100% eco-friendly, compostable, box designed to be played with!...My Little Guy spent an afternoon coloring the blue manatee box, sorting peanuts and having a blast!  Add a few materials from home and let your imagination run wild!"  Read the review here!

The Cincinnati EnquirerThe Cincinnati Enquirer

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Healthy Living: "Unplug the Kids." An article by blue manatee boxes founder, award-winning author, and pediatrician Dr. John Hutton discussing the landscape of childhood with regards to screen time, related health effects, and the benefits of shared reading and creative play. Read it (pdf)!  Part 1.  Part 2.

Family Friendly CincinnatiFamily Friendly Cincinnati

" manatee boxes are more than just boxes of great children's books. They are an experience, an opportunity for busy families to unplug, and embrace these simple icons of childhood and the opportunities to spend time together that they afford – which happens to be incredibly healthy, nurturing, and educational.   They’re also inexpensive, durable, reusable, and don’t need batteries..."  Read the full article, and more family friendly things, here!

The Cincinnati Business CourierThe Cincinnati Business Courier

"...Part of the appeal for the blue manatee boxes – shipped with three, six, or nine children's books – are the cardboard boxes themselves, meant for playing...supported by the idea that children learn best through real-world experiences, like the icons of his Baby Unplugged book titles – pets, beach, box, book,
ball, blanket and yard..."  From the article, Doctor, bookseller uses shop to launch 'Unplugged' series. Read the article here!

The Cincinnati EnquirerThe Cincinnati Enquirer

"A love of children's books and kids - and science - drives Dr. John Hutton to always find new ways to sell at Blue Manatee Children's manatee boxes combines his expertise as a pediatrician with a sound business model..."   Read the article from the Business Section here!  Watch the video, too!

Fox19 Morning NewsFox19 Morning News

blue manatee's Dr. John Hutton and Kelli Gleiner do a blue manatee boxes show-and-tell featuring the perfect gift for babies and young children: children's books and a fun-fillled box, with anchor Sheila Gray on the Fox19 Morning News

Cincinnati MagazineCincinnati Magazine

"The enterprising folks at blue manatee children’s bookstore and decafé— Oakley’s own children’s lit palace—have created the blue manatee boxes online gift shop, combining their love of reading with low- tech play..."  See it here!

Natural Parents NetworkNatural Parents Network

"I highly recommend these children's books for babies and toddlers. Yes, they are sweet, joyful, and catchy, but more importantly they support a mindset that seems to be all too rare these days – one that appreciates simple joys, the beauty of childhood, and the wonders of our natural world..."  From a review of blue manatee's Baby Unplugged series and the Unplugged Box.

Being MVPBeing MVP

"As you all probably know I love educational toys and children's books for Kenzie. Blue Manatee Boxes combines these two concepts in their fantastic gift box which can be customized by you or you can select an already themed box...The unique part is that the entire box is filled with materials to encourage your child's imagination."  The full, wonderful review, and much more, live here!

"Designed by a pediatrician and art educator, blue manatee boxes promote shared reading, creative play, and family bonding for healthy development. The boxes are eco-friendly and personalized for the recipient, but best of all, everything included invites hands-on, screen-free exploration and “old-school” fun!"

Crawfish TalesCrawfish Tales

"I admit that it is sometimes really hard to find gifts for kids, even with aisles and aisles of toys. You never know what they like or what size they are. Plus at birthdays and holidays they receive oodles of gifts that yours is just another one in the stack. I came across this idea which I LOVE! It is a really cool idea for a gift that keeps on giving combined with the most perfect gift for a child, books..."  Read the full review here!

the Well read Rabbitthe Well read Rabbit

"...what’s unique about this initiative is that kids are encouraged to reuse the packaging the books are sent in. Suggestions are provided for creative ways to reuse the box in play and even the cushioning isn’t wasted. Many children’s illustrators have joined in on the fun...and as both Squish and I are long time lovers of boxes and silliness, I couldn’t say no…" From the blog of wonderful Australian children's book author-illustrator Katherine Battersby - read more here!

A-List MomA-List Mom

"Besides a book, what's the best toy to give a kid? A box full of books! blue manatee boxes are the ideal eco-friendly gift for the holidays. Stuffed with great children's books handpicked by experts, the boxes can be chosen by theme and include custom artwork to spark the imagination. And kids are encouraged to reuse the packaging with cool illustrations—so not even the packaging goes to waste!"

Publishers WeeklyPublishers Weekly

"At blue manatee children’s bookstore & decafé in Cincinnati, owner Dr. John Hutton published a trio of board books on some things in childhood that matter most—Pet, Yard, and Blanket—as part of his Baby Unplugged series. He’s also selling the books as part of a gift set for babies, blue manatee boxes, which are packaged with materials that encourage young children to play..."  Read more!

I Thought I Knew MamaI Thought I Knew Mama

"...One thing that I absolutely adored about this gift package of children's books was the enclosed sheet labeled, 'Attention, Grownup!' This shares the mission of blue manatee boxes, which is to revive the notion of a simple box – in this case the packaging that the books arrived in – as an extension of its user..." Read the full review of the Unplugged Box.

WCPO Good Morning Tri-StateWCPO Good Morning Tri-State

blue manatee boxes dives into summer fun (what's more fun than children's books and perfect gift boxes?) on WCPO Good Morning Tri-State!  Founder Dr. John Hutton and Kelli Gleiner do laid-back show-and tell with host Adam Marshall.  Watch the video here!

"...What a smart baby gift idea, combining well known and true classic children's books with eco-friendly packaging that also helps your wee one learn, develop and have fun. Like we said…wish we’d thought of it first."  Read the full review here!

Slow Family LivingSlow Family Living

"If you know of some household that could use a little creative inspiration, not to mention some really beautiful children's books which can be purchased by such themes as art, eco, baby, birthday or love, blue manatee boxes are pretty sweet..."  Read the review here: What's Old is New Again.

Productive ParentingProductive Parenting

"Here is a creative way to shop and receive an extra bonus gift- a blue manatee box- in the process!  Along with the children's books you order, you get a box filled with packing noodles of various shapes to create vehicles, robots, airplanes, or most anything your child creates!  The unique gift promotes shared reading in addition to creative play for healthy development."  Read the review - and excellent, educational activities for babies and young children - here!

Eco Child's PlayEco Child's Play

"blue manatee boxes combine children’s inspiration from a simple cardboard box with themed literacy.  We have all experienced the creativity of children as the box a gift has come in becomes more exciting and longer sustaining of play than the actual toy (or children's books) it contained.  Blue Manatee makes the box and its packaging an essential part of the experience..." Read the full review here!

"Inspired by equal parts science and nostalgia, blue manatee boxes are custom gift boxes containing selections of hand-picked children’s board books, addressing key developmental needs of kids under three. They are also eco-friendly, mindfully designed where everything is usable..."  Read the full story here!

Mom Inc. DailyMom Inc. Daily

"blue manatee children's book boxes are an ideal gift for babies and toddlers - a Party in a Box!"  Read the full review here!


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