Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #12: Punch-Out Fun!

Bookstore, used bookstore, used bookstore with ephemera. Good, better, best! I love those used bookstores that carry all sorts of “doo-dads,” and I was ecstatic the day I found this “Tiny Town” punch-out book!

This one is from 1969 when I was already in my teens. But punch-out books were very popular when I was much younger. I have fond memories of pressing out and putting together a castle one time and a giant treehouse another, both on our old card table that looked a lot like the one pictured below.

Although not nearly as challenging as today’s Lego creations, these cardboard activity books offered plenty of fun to punch out the pieces, decide how they all fit together, and then play with the finished product. I’m sure that my older sister, Terri, was our “project director,” since I wasn’t overly patient. I remember lots of tape being involved!

Wikipedia says these books first appeared in the 1930s and that most were published, as this one was, by Whitman Publishing of Racine, Wisconsin. Many of them were based on televisions shows or movies. Maybe you remember these from your childhood, as well? Here are a few other examples found online. Hope you enjoy looking!

59 thoughts on “Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #12: Punch-Out Fun!

  1. I not only had punch-out books, our first card table (or at least the one I remember from my grade school years) looked just like that. I had punch-out paper dolls, too. Just for grins, I went looking, and found this set, that looks remarkably like some I had as a kid. No baby dolls for me — I wanted those sophisticated paper dolls!

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  2. My adolescence was with other kinds of books (South America). more than anything they were the folders to color or draw what was missing. Your memories are more colorful. A good feeling young again. Greetings and good week to you Becky

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  3. Love these. Reminds me of a story I heard as a child on the radio about a boy who found himself living in a cardboard town he’d made … I wish I could find it again. Ray Bradbury might have written it but I don’t think he did and I was too young to notice who wrote it back then but it made a big and spooky impression!

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    1. Maria, your comment had me searching for such a story (sounds intriguing!) but I had no luck.😢 It did lead me to another potentially interesting story I don’t know, “Hail and Farewell” by Bradbury, about a boy who never physically ages & must move from town to town to hide his secret.

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      1. Oh thank you for searching, Colette! ‘Hail and Farewell’ is a great story and has stuck with me: at least I know that one is Bradbury, because I read it in a book. I think the story I heard as a child might have been on Jackanory or something similar – perhaps around the mid 1960s but I have trawled the Wikipedia page without finding it. It’s out there somewhere!

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      2. Maria, I had not heard of this Jackanory but I just googled it (and read “Hail and Farewell” online too which in turn led to reserving a DVD of Ray Bradbury Theater from the public library – which I have no recall of ever seeing). The internet can be so amazing for finding “lost things” with little to go on; if you remember more details about cardboard town boy, let me know!😊

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  4. I don’t recall Punch-Out books from my youth – and I was growing up in the 1960s, too. But while they weren’t a thing here in the UK, cut-out dolls where there was a cardboard doll and you cut out her clothes and put them on using tabs were popular and I loved them… Nowadays, the clothes are plasticised so they stick to the dolls without the tabs, but I don’t think they’re as much fun. Thank you for sharing these, Becky – they would have been something I’d have loved.

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    1. Hi Sarah, it’s good to hear from you! I also loved playing with those cut-out cardboard dolls with the paper clothes that were a real challenge to cut out! I had many sets and spent countless hours playing with them. Such fun memories!

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  5. These books were intact?! I am amazed by that alone if so. Who resisted punching them out?? I adored punch-out books too. Sometimes I wish I could still be so easily entertained (as I was in childhood) although I guess that would come at the price of some smarts.😁

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  6. I just excited to see those old books and understand entirely your thrill to find them. I’m always drawn to antique children’s books; probably because we didn’t have them. I have never seen punch out books that old.

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  7. I’ve never come across this kind of book – not sure if I’m the wrong age for them, or lived in the wrong place. They seem a great way of showing kids that books can be fun, not something we should be afraid to touch in case we leave a mark on the page.

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