cover image Not Me!

Not Me!

Nicola Killen, Egmont USA, $13.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-60684-123-5

Killen's call and answer–style debut is a wild ride that follows five untidy toddlers through an increasingly unkempt house. Jake eats cake, Jane plays in the rain, Bertie gets rugs dirty, Paul paints the wall, Louise drops peas—but when asked about it ("Who's been eating all the cake?"), each one declares, "Not me!" The scenes spill over with splatters, spots, stains, and grinning children, and Killen provides visual teasers of the messes to come—puddles, handprints, tire tracks, and spilled peas all roll into the frame before they are spotlighted on later pages. Combined with Killen's simple rhymes and exuberant typography, it's colorful chaos through and through. When the children are faced with the question, "But who's going to clean and tidy up?" one final "Not me!" comes from Jess the Pup, who, admittedly, wouldn't be of much help. With only one wordless page devoted to the essential tidying scene, the emphasis is on the giddiness of mess making (and transparent, mischievous claims of innocence), rather than cleaning up one's messes. Ages 2–up. (Sept.)