If there’s ever a series of books that bring back the fondest memories of my childhood, it’s the Usborne Farmyard Tales series. Celebrating 35 years of the series, the books have been there for so many children. It’s their timeless appeal and charm (all thanks to the little yellow duck of course!) which has meant the books are still in print today and boasting a huge interactive range from sticker to touchy feely books. I’ve always been very vocal in my love of Usborne books, they’re everything a children’s book should be. Here I’ll be exploring my fondest memories of the Farmyard Tales and what I would recommend for today’s young reader.
There are a few illustrators who evoke that strong feeling of nostalgia but none so much as Steven Cartwright, the creator of the Apple Tree Farm characters. His creations take me right back to childhood and of reading ‘Tractor in Trouble’…
Each story was new and exciting, following the Boot family around their farm. Of course the real joy came from spotting the little yellow duck on every page. He is always very well hidden and poses a good challenge in finding him.
The Farmyard Tales series has grown and grown over the years as we’ve seen new types of books involve and there has been the ever increasing need of ‘interactive’ books. I really think Usborne has got it right here. Whilst it’s wonderful that publishers have been able to create apps to coincide with print books, Usborne continue to cater to the demands of a young reader by producing books which engage the child in reading and activity, which I think is so important for development.
One of the most popular books I’ve noticed as a bookseller, and certainly a favourite of mine is Touchy Feely Animal Hide and Seek. It’s a lovely hardback book which introduces characters on Apple Tree Farm with texturised patches on every page, all whilst following a story narrative. It’s a fantastic book for children to explore themselves.
Of course there are so many books in the FarmYard Tales series – cookbooks, nature books, sticker books, touchy feely books, Christmas books. When I have children on my own, I’ll relish bedtime because it means I will get to relive some wonderful stories and introduce Apple Tree Farm to another generation. I really can’t recommend the cookbook enough. It’s visually pleasing and has some great recipes in there with all your favourite characters…
Congratulations Usborne and Steven Cartwright on 35 wonderful years of bringing little yellow ducks to little people!