Tuesday, 15 October 2013

It Wasn’t Me!

It Wasn’t Me! written and illustrated by Belinda Jeffrey (University of Queensland Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 978-0-7022-4998-3
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

Belinda Jeffrey is a well-known author for older readers. It Wasn’t Me! is her first venture into picture book illustration. She tells the story of Finnigan, a child who seems to be followed by mess and mayhem yet bewildered by their cause. In the long-established tradition of all small people, poor Finnigan, protests his innocence whenever a household disaster is uncovered.  But could there be a cause other than Finnigan?

Jeffrey’s colourful and lively collage illustrations carry the story which has minimal text. The reader needs to seek out detail in the pictures to follow Finnigan’s dream-like journey in a gigantic egg shell. The story is bursting with the unexpected and full of delightful silliness, including a scene where the tables are turned and his Mum protests her innocence of some mess. The real culprits and their motivations are finally revealed in the final pages. A who-done-it for younger people!

This book may better suit the older range of picture book readers – early primary school children – as the monsters and Finnigan’s headlamp eyes may not appeal to younger readers.

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