Collecting, Identifying, and Valuing First Edition Childrens Books

Identifying First Edition Beginner Books

1957 - Beginner Book Dust Jacket Back 'A'


The following is an image of Beginner Book dust jacket 'A', which can be found on the first editions of the following books:

  • BB-1, Cat In The Hat


Dr. Seuss First Edition Books


1957 - BB-1 The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat was originally issued with a price of $2.00, indicated by the '200/200' on the top right front flap of the dust jacket, as in the picture. This is considered the first edition within the collector hobby.

The front dust jacket for the first edition has the Cat in his familiar posture, however has 'For Beginning Readers' in a circle at a 45 degree backward sloping angle, as in this picture:

The back dust jacket for the first edition appears as in the photo, above. Random House published copies of The Cat In The Hat with this same front and back dust jacket with three different prices, so there are three variants of the dust jacket, as follows:

  1. '200/200', published from March 1957 to late 1957 or early 1958.
  2. No Price, published from late-1957 to early 1958.
    After the enormous success of The Cat In The Hat, Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) formed Beginner Books as an independent publishing house. In 1958, in addition to the sequel to the Cat, four other early readers were readied for publication. While the price of the line-up was being established, Random House removed the '200/200' price from The Cat In The Hat. This dust jacket is nearly as difficult to find as the one with the '200/200' price.
  3. '195/195', published from early 1958 to mid-year 1958.
    It is not uncommon to find this 'third issue' dust jacket, with the front and back dust jacket configured like the photo's, above. In the fall of 1958, the back cover design was changed to reflect the release of the other five books in the series, see Beginner Books Back 'B'.

Be very careful with sellers substituting the 1985 facsimile dust jacket on the first edition book.  The only difference between the 1985 facsimile DJ and the first edition DJ is the phrase "Printed in U.S.A." on the bottom back flap of the facsimile.

Identifying the First Edition Cat In The Hat Book, Without Dust Jacket

The first edition Cat In The Hat book has a matte finish, while later copies have a glossy finish. It might be difficult for some to recognize what is 'matte' and what is 'glossy', so there is a more definitive means. The first edition Cat In The Hat book was bound with a single signature, as pictured on the left:

The second and later issue books were bound with three signatures, as pictured on the right:

Return to Identifying First Edition Beginner Books

Click here to see the summary table of all Beginner Books back dust jackets.


Click here to go back to the Children's Picturebook Price Guide's guide to identifying first edition Beginner Books on our website.


© Stan Zielinski
A serious collector having fun with fun books.


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