Sunday, 23 March 2014

The evolution of Usborne

BabyM has another new book.  Much as he and I adore Moo, Baa, La, La, La, there are only so many times a day that I can stand to read it.  Plus it was an Usborne book which didn't look like an Usborne book, so I had to investigate.

I've said before that I love Usborne very much indeed.  I have been to Usborne book parties where I have had more Usborne books than the sales rep! I did briefly toy with becoming a rep for them or for Barefoot Books, who I also deeply love, but then realised I would probably just buy the stock and then keep it, which would not make me an awful lot of money.

There is still something about the old-school illustrations where the children have fat plaits, chubby legs and arms and snub noses, and the grown-ups all look slightly alarmed but good-natured, that makes me feel very safe.  A feels the same.  I know this because when she is feeling like she wants to be little again, she goes and finds the Farm books with Poppy and Sam and Rusty the dog at her Granny's house and squirrels them off somewhere to read them for a while, taking herself back to a time when the most pressing matter was "but can you find the little yellow duck?"

Baby Stuff has changed since A was a baby.  Now you can buy bouncy chairs that cost more than an Ikea Poang, and pushchairs that cost more than a roadworthy car (yes, OK, I admit, mea culpa, but it is a *very* nice pushchair). TV has changed.  A was born in 2004, when Teletubbies, the Tweenies and the Fimbles still reigned supreme on CBeebies.  Now there is a knight called Mike.  Now, no disrespect to the name Mike, but it's not really a medieval name, surely?  Michael yes, Mike? Not so much. It's like have Dave the Knight, or Steve the Archduke.

Anyway. Usborne, too is changing.  The That's Not My series did exist when A was little, but it was things you might expect babies to actually have, like a dog, cat, dolly, or toy tractor.  Now you can purchase (and, yes, when I say you I do mean me) That's Not my Meerkat (it had to be done) and That's Not my Prince (bought for the staunchly republican MrM in his Christmas stocking). Perhaps you can buy actual meerkats and princes for babies now - I am a little out of the loop.

Peep Inside the Zoo, the new book on the scene, has almost an Usborne font, with almost Usborney pictures.  But they've got that modern darkened watercoloury-type feel.  It's very attractive, but it's not quite Usborne.  Well not my Usborne anyway.  Perhaps I am getting old. How depressing. Now where's my copy of Things People Do?

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