Pat the Bunny
|1940, re-issue May 1, 2001|
|Media type||Print paperback|
|Followed by||Pat the Cat|
Pat the Bunny is a "touch and feel" book for small children and babies and has been a perennial best-seller in the United States since its publication in 1940. It is not a book in the traditional sense, but more a collection of things to do, such as pat the fake fur of a rabbit on one page, feel a bit of sandpaper that stands for "daddy's scratchy face" on another, and look in a mirror on yet another.
It was written by Dorothy Kunhardt, who was a successful children's author when she wrote Pat the Bunny for her 3-year-old daughter, Edith. It was partly an experiment in using interactive elements in a book, which was unusual at the time.
Reception and legacy
Since its publication, Pat the Bunny has sold over 6 million copies, making it the number-6 all-time bestselling children's hardcover book, according to Publishers Weekly. Edith Kunhardt wrote three companions: Pat the Cat in 1984, Pat the Puppy in 1991, and Pat the Pony in 1997. The publisher, Random House, has developed an entire line of related products, and the company DIC will create a TV series based on the book. The book continues to be popular, appearing as eleventh best selling children's illustrated book for the week of June 15, 2006. Golden Press makes more than a quarter million copies a year. The book was endorsed by experts in child development for its "developmental features" and "sensory approach". In August 2004, Classic Media and Evergreen Concepts partnered to help promote the Pat the Bunny brand. On March 4, 2008, a DVD of the book was released with interactive materials included and an interview with Jean Kunhardt, the author's granddaughter. In 2011, Random House Children's Books released a ""pat the bunny"" app, inspired by the original book, for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch which received critical acclaim.
There have been parodies of the book also, such as Pat the Politician, mocking contemporary political figures, and Pat the Yuppie, which includes activities like touching the sheepskin seatcovers of their new BMW and rubbing the exposed brick of their new condominium's wall.
The proceeds from Pat the Bunny support I Am Your Child, a national public awareness campaign created by the Reiner Foundation to stress the importance of early brain development.
Anarchist folk singer Patrick Schneeweis releases music under the name "Pat the Bunny", a nickname he presumably earned for his habit of performing concerts barefoot and stomping his feet to the beat of his music. Pat is currently the frontman of the band Ramshackle Glory, but gained most of his fame as the singer of Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains.
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