Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Dorothy Kunhardt, Golden Books Publishing, 1940

I distinctly recall this 18 page Golden Touch and Feel book from my younger days. Anything scratch and sniff was hugely exciting for me, and this book had all sorts of sensory treats. I love this sandpaper jaw image how Judy can feel daddy's scratchy face. Readers can play peek-a-boo with Paul or look in the mirror and my flowers still smell fragrant.

For years this was a standby for a baby gift since I'd found the softest sweetest bunny to go with the book. It's been awhile since I've seen Pat the Bunny dolls but if I find some I may need to stock up. Those friends of mine keep on having the babies and babies must be given books!

"My mother wrote "Pat the Bunny" in 1940 when I was 12. "Wrote" is not quite the right word, even though the book is 135 words long; "made" would be more accurate. Before "Pat," books for very little children were for reading aloud and looking at. This one was for playing with as well. Right on the pages themselves were a variety of real things all babies love to go after. There was a fluffy little cottontail to pat, a peekaboo cloth to pick up and peep behind, a red ball that squeaked, a shiny mirror to look into, a daddy's scratchy beard to feel, a miniature book about a bunny with pages to turn and a mother's wedding ring to stick a finger through. It was the original "touch and feel" book, as they call the genre in the trade today, and even though it has inspired a hutch of imitations, Golden Press still goes on cutting and gluing and stamping out and hand-finishing a quarter of a million new copies of "Pat" each year, annually using up acres of sandpaper beard, six football fields of peekaboo cloth and enough metalized polyester to mirror over a small lake...."

Check out the rest of this article by Philip B. Kundhardt Jr. about Pat the Bunny's 50th anniversary, back in 1990! Good stuff!

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