I preordered this book and was thrilled when it was finally released. It arrived today, and I can't wait to knit something from this. The problem is that I love all the designs so much that I really have no idea which to knit first. Susan comes through once again with clever, adorable designs with instructions that are easy to follow. Acknowledging that most knitters dread the finishing work that toys require, Susan has thought through each design to alleviate as much finishing as possible. Clear step-by-step photos show tutorials for many techniques that are useful beyond the scope of the toys in this book, or beyond toys in general. Some of the tutorials include casting on a small number of stitches for working in the round, picking up stitches on a stuffed toy, working duplicate stitch and stem stitch, embroidering faces, stitching on an appliqué, attaching doll hair, and more.
The basics of the book are great, too. The hard cover protects the pattern pages, but the covered spiral binding allows the book to lie flat while you're knitting. The cover also features a "pull and smile" tab, a nod to children's books, that reveals the reversible nature of the toys inside. The table of contents features small photos of each project next to the respective chapters--a nice touch. The narrative of the introduction to the book and to each pattern reveals the down-to-earth nature of the designer and gives a more personal connection to the designs.
The photography by Liz Banfield is excellent. There is a great balance of close-up stitches-on-the-needle shots, pictures of the toys in transformation, detail shots of each toy, and kids actually playing with the toys. I love that the kids are oftentimes slightly out of focus but the toys are showcased in the forefront. Cute illustrations by Mariko Jesse fill in the white space and add to the whimsy of the book.
This isn't a learn-to-knit book, and Susan doesn't waste expensive pages teaching you to knit and purl. She assumes you know the basics, but even a beginner could handle a good number of these patterns.
Bottom line: If you are a toy knitter or a knitter who wants to learn to knit toys, buy this book. Just don't let your kids look at it. You might be hounded to knit every toy in the book for them!