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A Hole Is to Dig [With Hardcover Book]
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A Hole Is to Dig [With Hardcover Book]

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,441 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Krauss has brought together many whimisical definitions made by small children; such as "dogs are to kiss people" and "face is something to have on the front of your head." Humorous and cheerful, this 1952 classic inspires giggles from all readers. Sendak's illustrations capture the essence of a child's world.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Live Oak Media (NY) (first published June 1st 1952)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,005)
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Heidi Draffin
I looked at the 1-3 star reviews of Ruth Krauss' book here, at Amazon, Library Thing etc. A handful of people hate this book flat out...I suspect but do not know that they never made castles out of their Golden Books or gasped at night as they stared into the night sky and thought about how truly small they were as a speck on the crust of a planet spinning around in the universal equivalent of the back 40 of a single galaxy. Others seemed to have been charmed by a phrase or Sendak's drawings and ...more
Lisa Vegan
I learned that this book existed over at a discussion of a childhood favorite of mine: A Friend is Someone Who Likes You. This book was published in 1952 and I’m surprised that I don’t remember it as a part of my childhood, but I believe this is the first time I’ve read it.

It’s one I think I’d have enjoyed a lot more as a kid, especially as a kid in the 1950s. But, I did find it charming in its own way.

My favorite page was “Dogs are to kiss people” because how could I not fall in love with a pag
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Lesley
the subtitle a first book of first definitions could be misleading and i can certainly understand the few "i dont get it" reviews on here. with a simple glance, there doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to the "definitions" krauss has put on these pages - but that is exactly why i love it.

for example: "a watch is to hear it tick" and right below it "dishes are to do" - these dictums or philosophies (as it could very well be) are random, simple, and merely a child's truth. they convey the i
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Wynnie
This is one of the books I read at the Maurice Sendak exhibition in the Comtemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. There is a story that the words tell, and there are also layered stories in the accompanying illustrations. Even for books that he illustrates and does not author, Sendak enhances the rich texture of the text. Most of his stories and illustrations deal with the horror of the holocaust.

This book is simple at face value and deep at the same time. It tells children what things can be u
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Karen
Jan 25, 2009 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cait
My favorite "A lap is so you don't get crumbs on the floor." In my real life (This one, where I am a part-time legal secretary, sleeping in my sister's closet, can't be it.) I write little books like this, with small black and white drawings, in collaboration with children. Charming, playful, and honest. I am having difficulty returning it to the library.
Garren
Now this is a jewel! The cover looks kind of boring and too busy, but the pages inside are a great mix of simple bits of text with detailed happenings going on, drawn by Maurice Sendak. For example, one page says "Snow is to roll in" with a little "Buttons are to keep people warm" written in the corner, all showing a bunch of kids out in the snow. Lots to look at if someone wants to take the time. There's also a lot of play with the different ways things can be "for" something else, e.g:

"Little
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John Beeler
"The world is so you have something to stand on."

"The sun is so it can be a great day."

Cosi loves doing the actions associated with the definitions ("noses are to rub" or "ears are to wiggle."). I have never grown tired of reading this.
Natalie
Rugs are so dogs have napkins. A book is to look at. A tablespoon is to eat a table with. A face is something to have on the front of your head.

I love, love, love this! I will have to buy this one, to borrow it is not enough.
Winslow
For many many months now you have enjoyed parceling out pieces of cake to your reader, yourself, and those in adjacent rooms when you get to the party page. You also love the parade and the jumping in the mud page.
Suzi Baum
One of my favorite books of all time. Ever.
Vivian
I LOVE this book. It is hand-sized, so may not be the best choice for a story time. It has no story line. About six pages in is the page illustrating "A hole is to dig". Read this page and perhaps a few others and move on to another book. In my opinion, this is a MUST HAVE book.

If using this with the theme "Imagination Express", feature the letter "i" in your display and for a craft make "imagination caps". I often prep young children for the first story in a program by reciting and doing action
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Linda
This small book with its celery green cover and whimsical but simple drawings is a must-have for the adult with young children. My 1969 copy has fanciful black and white penned drawings with barn-red ink to describe what is going on. I understand that Ms. Krauss had children make suggestions and revisions before completing this little novelty. And with the exception of one minor issue with matches, the content is still up-to-date.

Anyone with young ones will realize in a heartbeat that the wordag
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Waller
I know, I know - this is a classic book for young people, and one that was even available WHEN I WAS A KID! Nevertheless, I hadn't read it before. It obviously has no plot, just a series of fanciful definitions accompanied by the first children's illustrations of Maurice Sendak. I was intrigued by some of the side things going on - odd animals and characters at the sides of pages, the diminution of traditional, restrictive manners lessons in favor of more enjoyable ("Hands are to hold" over "A h ...more
Ms. Chapman
This tiny little book is the result of some nursery school interviews and contains the wisdom and hilarity of little children trying to define common words. Maurice Sendak's illustrations add to the charm. It is a gem! Hunter's favourite line is "A tablespoon is to eat a table with".
Darlene
Cute book from 1950's. This an enjoyable little book by the author of The Purple Crayon. It was a different era of children's books with simple illustrations without as much color as today's publications. A refreshing easy read.
Heila
Pretty cool how the author took actual quotes from actual kids and turned them into an unusual book, along with those little drawings by Maurice Sendak.
Roger
It's cute, text by Ruth Krauss with kids's suggestions. Drawings by Maurice Sendak.
Sarah
I enjoyed it, but I returned it to the library before reading it to my 5 and nearly-3 year old daughters. They likely would have enjoyed it, I just never got around to picking it up for them before it was due. Worth a read, but I wouldn't need to own it.
Amar Pai
Boring nonsense. Don't bother.
Cindi
Funny, cute definitions to words. The pictures are by Maurice Sendak. Our favorite definition was "A floor is so you don't fall in the hole your house is in."

I liked and agreed with this quote from the back flap of the cover:

Ruth Krauss is the author of many children's favorites. To quote Elementary English: "A Ruth Krauss book is to look at over and over again, to quote from and laugh at and talk about, and even...to hug lovingly and drop off to sleep with."

We've also read "The Backward Day" an
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Marcia
super cute nonesense
Elanor
All by herself!
Heidi
There is really no basic rhyme or reason to this book. I think it's just for sheer entertainment for children. Great Sendak pictures which can keep children occupied a few minutes on some pages. Some randomly thrown in humor, which I guess corresponds with a child's random brain flow? I don't think this should be considered one of the top 100 Children's books, but it's also not one to pass just because it's old and leaves at least this adult going "huh..."
Dani
"A hole is to dig"
"Arms are to hug with"
"The world is so you have something to stand on"
"A lap is so you don't get crumbs on the floor"
etc.

This is the sort of book I wish I had written. I love how she turns definitions on their heads. This would be a great book for kids to write their own definitions following her pattern. Maurice Sendak's pictures are delightful.
Kris
I just love Ruth Krauss, and Maurice Sendak's illustrations in this one remind me of his "Really Rosie", one of my favorites as a kid. I love the way Ruth looks at ordinary things here and sees the silly or the kid-logic: "Toes are to dance on/ Eyebrows are to go over your eyes.... a tablespoon is to eat a table with". This will be fun for a quickie writing exercise with kids!
Joanna
I never really cared for this book until I heard it discussed sopmewhere, NPR, probably. When I learned that the author culled all the definitions from a "kids say the darndest things" type of nursery school experience, I became enchanted. "Mashed potatoes are to give everybody enough" Why, yes. Yes, they are. "The world is so you have something to stand on"
Lauren
This was one of my favorite books growing up. I remember getting it from the library over and over again. My mom had no idea why I liked it so much. She did eventually end up buying it for me and I'm sure I still have it somewhere. I recently bought it as a gift my my cousin and read it again. There really is no reason to the story, but it's cute and fun.
Dianna
I have to admit I didn't really get this book, but my three-year-old son was completely engrossed. I had to take a look at it after reading so much about it in Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom.
JaNeal
I picked this up after going to a lecture on the pioneers of the modern-day picture book. Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak show why they were able to change the landscape of literature for children with this cute book that delves into the thought process of a child. A bit off-beat and lovely--a rare combination.
Robin
This book is so amazing. For a book that was published before both my husband I were born, it holds up 60 years later. It's a book that's physically small in size and the illustrations are small but it's big on possibilities. I plan to purchase copies to give as baby gifts to people I know. So sweet.
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