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Cultural notebook: “That’s not my dinosaur”

That’s not a usual setting for a kids’ book series. Its assumptions are too strange. Its ethics are too dubious. That’s my argument

By Sam Leith   September 2010

“That’s not my puppy. Its coat is too hairy.” Know what I’m talking about? If you have children under ten, you will. The That’s Not My… series of board-books are the air you breathe—along with sinister Justin from CBeebies, the freaky yoga monkey from Waybuloo, and the bizarre thumb-sized College of Cardinals living at the bottom of the Night Garden.

The format is unvarying. Each is a square, hardwearing book on thick cardboard. The cover and four subsequent double-page spreads each show a pleasing cartoon picture of, say, a wildebeest. A cut-out section of the picture is filled with a…

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