Top positive review
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In 1940, was one of the very first "touch & feel" books... but comb binding on both Hardback/Plastic Comb formats is frustrating
on February 15, 2017
There are so many wonderful interactive, texturized books now that appeal to a small child who's just beginning explore their five senses, so it's easy to forget that they were a rare novelty back in the late 30's when Dorothy Kunhardt wrote this book for the youngest of her four children, a then 3 year old daughter named Edith (originally published in 1940), who would grow up and become a children's book author/illustrator herself (including expanding on her mother's gift to her with 1984's Pat the Cat, 1991's Pat the Puppy, and 1997's Pat the Pony.) I bought this as an Easter gift for our first granddaughter... she'll only be 6 months old at Easter, it'll be a bit before she's old enough to have it read to her (though they develop much more quickly than we think), so I must be honest in that I bought it as much for my own sense of nostalgia as for her!
I'd forgotten all about this book until I came across it on the Amazon book editors list of "100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime", but it instantly stirred a long ago memory, as did the VERY old-fashioned looking illustrations and VERY simple text in this book with main characters Paul and Judy (reminded me a bit of the old "Dick and Jane" readers of my gradeschool days, which used sight words and repetition rather than an emphasis on phonics to teach us how to read.) The only sense not covered in the Deluxe (referred to as Hardback on this listing) edition of the book is taste, since there are flowers to smell along with "Mummy's button box" to hear rattling upon shaking, and the squeak of "dolly's ball" when pressed (with the last two - covering 4 pages - restored from the original 1940 version - referred to as Spiral Bound on this listing - pages which are NOT included in what's being referred to as the Plastic Comb edition on this listing... even though the Deluxe Hardback ALSO has plastic comb binding! There's a difference in the size... the Deluxe Hardback is bigger, though not "double the size" as stated.) Other activities are (of course!) a furry bunny to pat, a piece of cloth covering Paul's face to lift up and play "peek-a-boo", a mirror to look in, "Daddy's scratchy face" to touch (which is actually just a final unshaven strip on one of his jaws), a hole cut out in the middle of "Mummy's ring" to stick a finger through, along with a short little book-within-the-book for Judy (and your youngster) to read. It did provide a nostalgic smile as I turned the pages...
But that's when I remembered why I've never been a fan of books with combs in the binding! Oh my goodness... not once, but twice as I myself VERY gently turned the pages of the book while reading and then re-reading it a second time, the entire comb attachment came apart from the book... can't begin to imagine how quickly and often that would happen when a young child's eager little fingers were turning the pages! Our little lady has three older brothers, and this book will never survive until her 1st birthday if they get hold of it first, so I'll be sure to suggest it be put up and out of sight until she's ready for it. The measurements shown on this listing (8.1 x 1.5 x 9.2) for the Deluxe Hardback (with its imprinted $14.99 US price on the back of the partial box it comes in, with a hard plastic overwrap enclosing it) are of the box, while the book itself is 7-7/8" x 1-1/4" x 9", which is larger (but not double the size) of what's called Plastic Comb edition (shown as 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.6).
Bottom line? A true classic. But if I'd known that this Deluxe Hardback edition also had comb binding, I'd have done a thorough search for one of the original spiral bound books and tried to buy one in very good/excellent condition from a reputable vendor. So I'm in a quandry as to how to rate it... 5 stars (love it) for its historical significance, 5 stars for the fact that it includes the additional four pages from the original, but 1 star (hate it) for the comb binding. I guess I'll go with 5 stars, along with a strong word of caution.