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That's Not My Books Author Fiona Watt

6th July 2017

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Fiona Watt, author of the bestselling Usborne series, That's Not My.... talks about how the series started back in 1998 and the publishing process for each book, including the 50th title in the series, That's Not My Unicorn out in July 2017.

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Nobody at Usborne can quite remember who's initial idea developed into the That's not my…. series. I think Jenny Tyler (the publishing director) and I were discussing how young we thought children's puzzle books could go. I came up with "it's not that one, it's not that one, it's not that one, it's that one." We initially presented a dummy cover for 'That's not my puppy' at the Frankfurt Bookfair, much to Peter Usborne's consternation. He was very against publishing a book with a negative title, but we persevered…. that was way back in 1998. I had no idea that nearly 20 years later I would still be working on the series (Rachel and I are currently working on the 52nd title and there are more in the pipeline).

Book pages Placeholder Book

That's Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

This was the very first "That's Not My...." book first developed back in 1998. 

Some reviews for this book:

"This is a great book and the front cover is so soft! There are a variety of textures within this book and both of my little ones really enjoyed looking at the different puppies. These books are fabulous!"

"Another fab "that's not my" book. My daughter is obsessed with dogs at the moment, so enjoyed looking at the variety of dogs and feeling the different textures within the book!  We've had this book for a while and it it's a very sturdy and well made book."

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It's hard to choose which title I like best in the series. When 'That's not my penguin' was published it was definitely my favourite, but I really like the woodland creature titles we have done recently - 'That's not my squirrel... fox… badger… owl…' etc. I was excited when we decided to add a bit of sparkle ot the cover of 'That's not my unicorn' and I'm particularly pleased with the holographic effect on the page edges!

When I start working on a new title, the first thing I do is to come up with six body attributes that could be turned into touchy-feely patches. Some subjects rule themselves out as there are simply not enough attributes or don't lend themselves to a variety of touchy-feely textures (such as a fish or dolphin).

I then send the ideas to my designer Non, along with picture ideas and she draws thumbnail designs from which we choose the ones that will work the best. The designs are then sent to Rachel who illustrates them in her style. She draws the black outlines, which she sends to me for approval. Once approved by Mary, the art director, and myself, Rachel adds the colour.

Early Spreads for That's Not My Unicorn
That's Not My Unicorn Work in Progress

Once I've received the finished artwork, I trawl through fabric samples that I have accumulated over the years and choose the textures and the words that will best describe them. The artwork, complete with its text in place, is sent off off to the printer. Dummy books are made and these then go, along with the fabric swatches, to a testing centre to undergo lots and lots of different safety tests. A new title might undergo over fifty tests on the book and the fabrics, especially if I've chosen a new fabric that has never been tested before.

The whole process from coming up with the intial ideas to having a copy of a new title in my hands takes about six months.

That's Not My Unicorn Cover
Possible covers for That's Not My Unicorn
Book pages Placeholder Book

That's Not My Unicorn

This is the 50th title in the internationally best-selling That's not my... series available in July 2017. This sparkly, touchy-feely book features a magical unicorn to talk about, and a little white mouse to spot on every page. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages and touching the textured patches as they try to find their unicorn.

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Fiona Watt is the UK's fourth biggest-selling children's author, with over 10 million of her books sold in the UK since records began. You can read more about Usborne author Fiona Watt here.

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