I’m almost a bit self-conscious about how much of a fan I am of the Usborne series “That’s Not My…”. Learning that a new title has been released has me in a state of complete excitement, and I don’t know how much time I’ve spent poring over the series, figuring out which books will make the perfect customised collection for my son.
If you’ve not heard of them before: “That’s Not My….” is a series of what they call feely-touchy books; the illustrations in these board books have textured inserts that are ‘rough’, ‘slimy’, ‘velvety’, ‘and so on. So in “That’s Not My Lion” (the first book I bought for my son) “its paws are too rough”, and in “That’s Not My Dragon” (the second book I bought, out of respect for my husband’s St George rugby league fixation) “its claws are too knobbly”, while in “That’s Not My Monkey” (a much more recent acquisition) “its feet are too smooth”, and in “That’s Not My Reindeer” (a seasonal purchase) “its bells are too sparkly”.
We added “That’s Not My Tractor” when visiting my grandfather, whose backyard always housed a variety of tractors during my childhood. We added “That’s Not My Pony” when we visited a farm where racehorses were kept. “That’s Not My Plane” joined the collection a few weeks before a family trip to New Zealand, and I’ve been trying to find a good excuse to buy “That’s Not My Frog” ever since it came out a few months ago.
At first these were just the perfect books to read with a very young baby, with strong illustrations and a variety of textures to pass the baby’s fingertips over while reading the descriptive text for each page. But as time passed these became perfect books for reading with an older baby who can then manage the pace of the reading by turning the board pages themselves, pausing at the pages of more interest (to the eye or the touch).
To my surprise, these continued to be the perfect books for a very young toddler to enjoy alone, and I have it on good authority that these books are just wonderful when children begin to read.
Earlier this year Usborne ran a UK-only competition celebrating ten years of the series, asking “That’s Not My….” readers to suggest new titles. Being based in Australia I could not join in, but if I had my chance I’d be pleading with Usborne to create “That’s Not My” Kangaroo, Tricycle, Zebra, Playground, Cupcake, Vacuum Cleaner, Kookaburra, Babycino, Watering Can, Trumpet…..
The imagination boggles at the textures and sensations each of these animals or objects could illustrate in a book in this series – and maybe that’s what makes each of these books so magical for readers with babies of any age.