Monday 14 June 2021

This is NOT a Book!

This is NOT a Book! written by Kellie Byrnes, illustrated by Aska (EK Books) PB HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 978 1 925820508              

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

A main character is trapped inside a book and doesn’t quite believe they are. After all there is no real setting or problem to solve or even a real storyline. Or is there? The fun begins as the story grows and so do the shenanigans. This is metafiction at its best. It takes a reader inside the book to discover how a good story is told. Except as a reader now I am not quite sure how I’ll get out of this book. Help!


Kellie Byrnes has made a splash in children’s books since her debut novel The Cloud Conductor, in 2018. This is NOT a Book! is Kellie’s fourth picture book with more books to follow this year.


Kellie has written a story that not only brings the reader into the book but it teaches them about what makes a good story. Her use of questioning makes the reader think and become involved in the story. The main character states facts about books to entice the reader to their stance. It’s much like if you turn your back on the ocean it can surprise you. Kellie surprises and engages the reader with her strong voice and wit. She toys with her main character and in such a way that it makes the reader laugh with delight. The more the main character argues their point, the funnier the story becomes. We also see exclamation marks and ellipsis and lots of punchy short sentences. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Aska is an energetic illustrator who has illustrated nine published books. Her expertise in storytelling shines in her illustrations. The visual narrative plays with the text perfectly. The endpapers explore the beginnings and endings of creativity. I am still wondering where the main character has gone now that he has escaped from the book. Aska uses bright and bold colours that pop. Her main character is engaging with lots of movement and facial expressions. The graphic design of the text seems to imply that the text could be moved around. The illustrations silently build the story behind the sassy main character. The ocean sneaks onto a corner and then suddenly becomes real on the next spread. Iska tosses and plays around with the main character in all sorts of places for the reader to explore. Her illustrations show a wonderful understanding of a child’s world.


This is NOT a Book! is a picture book that is suitable for 4-8 years and appeals not only to parents but teachers and librarians, too. This book has a clever hook in that it is a great way to introduce children in how to write a story.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for a lovely review, Karen and Buzzwords!


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