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UsborneTouchy Feely Books: That's Not My Dinosaur - Fiona Watt
Member Name: broxi3781
UsborneTouchy Feely Books: That's Not My Dinosaur - Fiona Watt
Date: 18/01/13, updated on 20/01/13 (53 review reads)
Advantages: The children love it.
Disadvantages: Cheap poorly made textures - not all Usborne's usual high quality,
I love Usborne books in general and this series in particular. True - I underrated these when I first saw them, but my sons both love tactile books - even now at 4 and 7, and when my oldest recently explained to me how he used these books to help learn to read - I was even more impressed. I've been after this particular title for donkeys. I usually do look for used books, but I find this type of book is best to buy new so that you know all the textures will be clean and intact. I have literally washed used books in this line from a boot sale. If you are picking them up for a few pence you don't mind so much, but if ordering online I usually choose only new books in this range. But this title has not been available new for years. I finally gave in and decided to look for a used - very good condition book as my sons love dinosaurs as well and surprise - surprise, Amazon finally had new copies again. It was ordered immediately.
First off I must point out that Usborne does revamp these books now and then. So you may have a copy of this exact same title with completely different textures. In fact, the one that was pictured on Amazon is not the book I recieved - Amazons picture shows a lovely sparkly foil type material for the dinosaurs spots - but it has since been updated to show this book. I was basically expecting a revamp - as this book appears to have been out of print for awhile - but all the other revamps we have bought have really been an improvement on the old. This was not the case with this book.
That's Not My Dinosaur has the same basic structure of all the books in this series. We have a small white mouse who is looking for his toy, pet or vehicle - or perhaps Santa or a snowman. In this case it is a dinosaur. The text always reads "That's not my ______ It's _____ is too _______. In this case one page reads "That's not my dinosaur. Its tail is too fuzzy". This familiar format is brilliant for very young children who like to repeat the story as the parent reads, or pretend to read it themselves. It is even better as they learn to read when they can study the familiar words and guess at the few new ones as my son recently pointed out to me. The colours are bright and engaging and the story appeals to very young children who often like books with a searching theme.
My problem with this specific books lies in the textures. The dinosaur on the front cover is the absolute worst. It is a bumpy foam which appears to be covered in cling film. I have to admit my sons love this, but it looks so fragile. My children are older and I have explained that we must be careful with this part as if a child were to poke it - I believe it would tear. But as much as my children love these books - they are meant for much younger children and I defy you to explain to an 8 month old that poking might tear this - and of course the whole idea of these books is to feel all of the textures.
The teeth also appear to be a very thin and cheap paper which reminds me of kitchen roll. I do make sure my children always handle books with clean hands, but this would get dirty very easily, and a fingernail would ruin it. The soft felt of the Stegosaurus would also get dirty easily, and i have seen where this has worn away on older books - but the children do like it and with proper care I think this one will be fine - at least for a few years. The fuzzy section for ankylosaurus tail was also thinner than most, but I wouldn't really complain about this. On the plus side Triceratops has very nice velcro horns and the plesiosaur has lovely slippery fins which change colour depending on how you hold the book.
While I was quite dissapointed by this book, and do not feel that this is up to the usual high standards of this series, in all fairness I must admit that my sons are very happy with it indeed. After all it is about dinosaurs, and they do love any textured books. Because they are already older and extremely careful with books I am really hoping this will last until they out grow it. But I am not at all convinced that it will - while I have no doubt that all of their other books in this series which we have bought new will be in perfect condition to pass onto another child when they outgrow them. But despite all my complaints, this is still a lovely book at the moment. It will require very careful handling, but it is still something that many young children would absolutely love, and I would not return it for the money back - as know Amazon would allow, because I wouldn't want to take it from them. It is certainly no worse than some other textured books I have found - it just isn't as good as I would expect from Usborne. In fact I doubt I would complain so much if this were from an unknown publisher - but Usborne does have a reputation for excellence.
I would give this book 3 stars. Good illustrations, very good text for a young a child, mediocre textures. My sons however would give this 5 stars. Dinosaurs and textures combined is all they need. I am meeting in the middle with 4 stars, and I would still recommend this for an older toddler who can be careful with books, but only more cautiously for an infant. I believe this book could still be used with an infant, but that parental supervision would really be must to ensure very delicate handling of the book. Personally - I'd rather opt for one of the many better made titles in this series for a younger child. I would only choose this for a child who absolutely loves dinosaurs. Also - on this one occasion a good second hand book may very well be a better buy than a new one, as the older version does appear to have been better.
Summary: Not the best book in the series - but still better than any other series.
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