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Usborne Touchy Feely Books: That's Not My Robot - Fiona Watt
Member Name: broxi3781
Usborne Touchy Feely Books: That's Not My Robot - Fiona Watt
Advantages: Helps younger children learn to love books and helps older children learn to read them.
Disadvantages: i can not find the slightest imperfection.
That's Not My Robot is one of the newer books in this series, and in addition to the usual textures, it also has quite a lot of sparkle and shine. I have found this on a few newer or revamped books and it does add to an already brilliant series. Throughout this book there are shiny metallic bits on the robots, sparks, stars and shiny buttons which add a bit more colour and fun to this title, and of course fit in very well with a robot theme.
The story follows the same pattern as all of the books in this series. A small white mouse is pictured on each page looking for his robot. He looks at each robot declaring "That's not my robot, and then uses an adjective to describe some feature on the robot that is different from his own - such as "That's not my Robot - Its hands are too crinkly" until at last he finds the one that is just right. Now when you have a large number of these books you would think children would find this too repetitive. It is basically the same story told over and over with only the variation of a different subject and a few different adjectives.
But very young children seem to love the predictability of this text - they love searching for the robot - or whatever other item it is, and they love knowing what will come next. I strongly believe that playing with books is a crucial step in developing literacy - although I have nothing but my own observations to support this. I believe that as children touch - feel and explore books all the while looking at familiar words or even reciting the words from memory they are little by little beginning to recognise key components of literacy. Additionally, as a parent reads a familiar text and the child follows the text they eventually learn many of the words. I can remember my oldest son sitting with these books for ages as he was learning to read, silently mouthing the words and he has since told me that this really helped him to learn to read. He knew many of the words and could guess the others using visual clues, memory, context and phonics. It was only as he really explained the process that I realised just how valuable this repetition is.
My sons do like robots and anything mechanical - as most boys do, so this was a very good choice for us, but I'm sure many girls would enjoy this as well. In fact I am quite certain I would have preferred this to the more girly books as a child. The robots here are all very friendly, which suits a book designed for babies and young children. I'm sure my boys would love an evil robot version - but that wouldn't be in keeping with this series.
As mentioned, this book has a lot of sparkle and bling in the form of shiny reflective foil type print which I have no idea how they managed. It seems to be some type of highly reflective silver print. In addition to this, four of the six textured materials are also very shiny and sparkly. The robots eyes are a thick squashy silver with hologram prints reflecting rainbow colours. Another robot has a rubbery gold material which is very metallic looking but produces an almost 3d effect with absolutely brilliant colours when held in the light. One robot has a cloth feet, but this cloth is covered in small silver spots which again reflect a rainbow of colours when held in the light. The final bit of bling is a thick red foil type material on the last robots antennae with a very smooth texture.
All of the textures on this book are very sturdy and well made. I have always made sure books were only handles with clean hands, but I have washed other books in this series which were purchased used in a very dirty condition. The pages are very thick cars with a smooth surface and will tolerate a quick wipe easily enough. All of the textures in this book would wipe clean easily enough as well. one of the non sparkly textures is a wonderful ridged red plastic for the robots hands, which seems to have taken the place of the old crinkly paper in older books. This looks as if it would last forever, and has a nicer feel as well. The final texture would be the hardest to clean - but it can be done. It is a nice velcro material for a robot dog's ears.
One final feature worth noting on this book - and all the books in this series is the corners. This may not seem like an important feature, but believe it or not, I have seen a child draw blood with when falling with a book if the corner hits them just right. Very small children tend to get very enthusiastic about their favourite stories and will often bring one to while running, or clamber up onto beds and sofas with a book in hand. Of course the odds of a serious injury are incredibly slim anyway, but I reason if a corner could poke through skin, it might be able to hurt a child's eye. this series is designed with babies and toddlers in mind and the corners are all well rounded with the paper covering very carefully tucked around each corner.
This book is intended for babies and very young children, but my sons are 4 and 7 and still choose the odd title from ths series when picking new books. They still enjoy the textures very much, and now that I know how useful these were to my son in learning to read, I am quite happy to have a good selection of these for my youngest to use as well. i would strongly suggest that even if the child does seem to outgrow these that parents hang onto them and bring them out again as they learn to read. these are especially lovely for families with siblings as the older child can take immense pride in reading a story to younger brother or sister, and just as I feel reading together is a wonderful bonding experience between parents and children - it can also be a great way for siblings to feel close to each other as well. I am quite lucky to have two boys that do get on very well, but I have often asked my oldest to read to his brother when they seem to be getting annoyed with each other and it usually does restore the peace. I can't recommend this series strongly enough for babies and toddlers - but don't discount it for older children as well.
This book sells for £4.49 new - and in this case I do recommend new books unless you can see before buying as these books are often treated as playthings - even chew toys and some used ones can be pretty rough. I would also note that in several books in this series the textures may be different in older books - so you might not get all the same ones in a used book.
Summary: One of the best books in an absolutely brilliant series.
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