Often you'd buy a toy for a baby or young toddler and be disappointed to see that not only does he not play with it "the way he's supposed to", he'd often show no interest in it at all. Blake had books from the day he was born, but his early interest in them was to simply turn the pages as fast as possible. It made it an exercise in speed reading for me as I'd try to read the story fast enough, managing only the first 3-4 words.
And then during our trip to Israel in December Blake, seemingly out of nowhere, started bringing a book to us and placed it on our lap in the expectation that we would read it for him. He would turn the pages joyfully, waiting for us to read the entire phrase. Obviously at almost twenty months he couldn't read along yet, but he remembered the length and musical pace of each phrase. He would never turn the page too early and often stop to touch the different textures in the book: fuzzy, smooth, furry, scratchy etc.. That book was That's Not My Bear, a book we got him months before.
That book was used so much during these two weeks that near the end of our trip it completely fell apart. First thing we did when we came back to London was order another That's Not My Bear book together with That's Not My Monster and That's Not My Car. Then I saw in Tesco a boxset of That's Not My Teddy Bear, Puppy and Monkey for only £5 and I still regret not taking a couple more. They were all gone very quickly (usually these books cost £5 each, £3ish on Amazon). I also bought a Peppa Pig boxset which was thoroughly ignored like any other book that didn't belong to the series. B
lake was delighted with his expanded collection and would carry around one of these books with him at all times, often two at a time. After Blake decided to marinade the second Bear book in the dogs' water for three hours, a third one was ordered along with That's Not My Baby and another That's Not My Car as the original Car book is already almost obliterated. We also ordered three of those books as a present for Blake's brother in Canada.
I think on average these books are read to him about 10-20 times per day, almost exclusively on his request and initiative. Thankfully they are quite short. Then again Blake has figured out a trick to make them last longer: he would stop before the last page, knowing that it will conclude the story, and start flipping the pages back.
I don't get the magic my son sees in these books. I don't know how Fiona Watts and Rachel Wells came with this concept and if they knew it'll be so successful. Buying so many of these books, I bet the royalties from us alone paid for their next vacation.
But you know what? They earned it.