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A Hole is to Dig
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A Hole is to Dig

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,197 ratings  ·  129 reviews
What is a hole?
A hole is when you step in it
you go down

A hole is
for a mouse
to live in.

And, of course, a hole is to dig.

This is the funniest book
of definitions you'll ever read!
Paperback, 48 pages
Published September 7th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published June 1st 1952)
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Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,197 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baby-books
I read all these old-timey books when I was a kid - this is from 1952 - and came away with all these ideas like, for example, that trains are for wearing bonnets on. (This turns out not to be the case.) But I also learned that

and that is true.
Heidi Draffin
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Remarkably funny considering it was written in 1952 before funny existed. The illustrations by Maurice Sendak are, of course, fabulous and the text is, too.

"A tablespoon is to eat a table with"
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
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read this and its companion books I fall in love with little children all over again. And I want to be a little child again, and never grow up, not even to be as old as Peter Pan. Krauss does a marvelous job of editing, while remaining, clearly, obviously true to the children's voices.

This time I'm thinking about the artwork. Sendak made the children fairly generic. I can't tell if he's drawn about half a dozen kids over & over, or if each is meant to be unique... but in any cas
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best pictures books I've ever seen. It can be quite poetic, deep and philosophical. I've been wanting to read it for about 5 years now!

The ground is to make a garden.
Hands are to hold. Arms are to hug with.
A castle is to build in the sand.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor, juvenile
Sort of an example of 'kids say the darnedest things' about the meaning of words. Some of the definitions were cute, some left me indifferent. The illustrations weren't what I expected from Sendak. Overall, a quick but not particularly impressive book.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
John Beeler
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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.
Suzi Baum
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time. Ever.
Lisa Kay
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is too cute! A great gift for a baby shower. The illustrations are sweet and the reasons for a hold keep popping back up through-out the book.
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this on the recommendation of Robert Anton Wilson - a collection of words defined by children too young to have been assimilated into semantic conventions.
Adassa Delgado
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
2 out of 5

I think this book did its purpose. It was adorable, but I think it could have done more. I enjoyed the illustrations a lot. They made the children relatable and I am glad they didn't color their skin.

"A Hole is to Dig" goes through objects in a typical child's life and lets the reader know what the purpose is.

This book lost a lot of stars for the reason of it not doing enough as it could have. I don't really have much to say about the book. I think the book is relatable and interacti
Luisa Knight
Charming illustrations of children doing many things that get defined for the learning toddler.

Ages: 1 - 3

Cleanliness: mentions Halloween.

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.
Charlie Moses
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Another children's picture book, this is rather dated as well. The definitions are thought-worthy, but its entertainment value isn't high by today's standards. And it would depend on the child, as well. Read it for yourself and see what you think.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Michael David
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I am going to read children's books in between my Erich Fromm books, philosophy, and weighty fiction. Because while a book holds much information, it is also 'to look at.'
Edmundo Mantilla
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Terrific, wonderful, everyone should have a copy of it! Loved it as a kid, discovered it again in Dr. John Cech's class.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun and the black and white illustration by M. Sendak are really cute!
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charming text and art.
Brian Jakes
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
This "First book of first definitions" is made up of "suggestions, revisions, additions (and subtractions)" by the author and several children. A cute reader for youngsters.
BC Batcheshire
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
A clever, funny little book worth a perusal for the cute illustrations by Sendak. Kind of essential for a young reader, in my opinion.
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