Thursday, January 12th, 2006
Review: Sling Bookshelf by KidKraft
We bought Little Miss a sling bookshelf to organize her growing collection of reading material. The idea behind a sling shelf is simple. Books are placed upright in a fabric pocket or sling, allowing a toddler to identify books by their covers.
After two weeks of use, I have one good and one bad observation.
First, the bad. Many, if not most, of our small board books are not visible above the top of the 7 inch deep slings. Looking down, you can read the names off the spines, but not see much of anything of the cover art. In retrospect, I see now that One Step’s marketing photos do not include any small board books. I’m guilty too. For the photo above, I removed many board books and repositioned the others to look better in the photo.
Coincidentally, our small board books fit nicely in our 9 bin storage rack from Target. We’re not storing books in the bins, but it is certainly doable.
Whoah, I just discovered the advertised 7" deep slings are not quite that. The bookshelf has four slings, but they are actually one piece of continuous fabric. The collective weight applied to any one sling can push its pocket down, increasing its depth while simultaneously shortening the depth of another sling. The rough depth measurements depicted in the photo above are 7, 6, 4, and 7.5 inches. The deepest pocket holds the giant Richard Scarry’s Biggest Word Book Ever! And no, we don’t normally store that book in the sling. It just looks funny there. Har. Har.
A sling shelf would be better designed to use several individual pieces of cloth so that the shelve depths are not variable.
Now, the good. Our play room is much tidier with the sling shelf. Our former book shelf was an old microwave cart. Little Miss would pull one book from the shelf and bring several with it, quickly creating a pile of books on the floor. She couldn’t return her books to the shelf in upright fashion, sliding them back between other upright books, so they ended up stacked horizontally, often falling off the shelf. Mom and Dad had the daily chore of cleaning up books.
Enter the sling. Miss takes out one book at a time, and can properly return it, or do so with our guidance. Once tidy, things stay tidy â€“ books don’t fall out. We store our board books in it too, though as her book collection grows, they will be the first to migrate somewhere else.
I researched many bookshelves, including quite a few shelving solutions designed for daycare centers, but was generally disappointed at the high price tags. The shelf sold by One Step Ahead was reasonably priced. I suspect we’ll see greater toddler shelving options hitting the market in the next year or two.