Not Me! by Nicola Killen, published by Egmont

In recent weeks, we’ve found ourselves inadvertently interpreting our daughter’s actions as possible indicators for her professional future. Recently she’s developed a keen interest in Duplo, particularly building steps and towers, and often creates structures that inspire us to wonder if she’ll become an engineer or an architect. She loves being part of cooking dinner, particularly making breadcrumbs, peeling onions and plucking grapes from their stalks – maybe she’ll be a famous chef? When in artist mode, she enjoys painting, chalk drawing and decorating cardboard boxes – she might be the next Barbara Hepworth?

One talent she’s not yet honed is tidying up. She knows it’s a good thing to do in principle – indeed, she’s mastered a song about it (happily singing “this is the way we tidy up” as she removes puzzles and dinosaurs from her toybox) but hasn’t yet adjoined the lyrics with the representative actions.

‘Not Me!’, by Nicola Killen, depicts a series of happy children engaged in the sort of creative play on which toddlers (including ours) thrive, along with the accompanying mess. Alongside each scene of disarray, the question is asked as to who is responsible and, on the page that follows, we are presented with the small culprit, along with clear, visual clues to highlight their guilt. An additional give-away is that each child’s name rhymes amusingly with the act for which they are (quite literally in one case) caught red-handed.

“Who’s been making the carpet dirty?” “Not me!” said Bertie (as he rides his muddy bike across the room). “Who’s been dropping all these peas?” “Not me!” said Louise (as we see a pile forming under her chair as she eats). A useful final scene depicts all of the children featured having fun together as they tidy up.

With charming illustrations that have been masterfully created using what appears to be techniques often found in primary school settings (stencil, collage, sponge painting) and the use of pleasing pastel colours, this book is a real treat and great fun to read aloud.

Author Feedback

@NicolaKillen said: “Thanks for the great review – it’s lovely to hear that the book strikes a chord with you AND your toddler!”