I’m NOT a mouse!
I’m NOT a mouse!
Evgenia Golubeva. Swindon: Child’s Play (International) Ltd, pb 978 1 7862 8463 1, 2020, £6.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 2-5 years
Olivia’s mum loves to call her ‘Mouse’ but each time Olivia is transformed into an actual mouse.
Her tiny size gets her into all sorts of scrapes and, after catching the eye of a huge and hungry ginger cat – no longer a cosy pet – Olivia decides that enough is enough. Refusing to answer to anything but her ‘proper’ name, she finally finds a way to express to her loving mum that this is what she prefers. Mum, in turn, explains that her pet name is a way to express how much she loves her. Interestingly, she also apologises; a great message, subtly handled, about how adults and children can interact with respect. Later on, in the park after school, Olivia sees that there are infinite affection nicknames, from Cutie Bear to Treasure, Little Strawberry to Superstar. There is a playful twist at the end when Olivia’s grandfather uses his own nickname for her mother, who instantly takes the form of a ‘little chicken’.
Author/illustrator Evgenia Golubeva handles the topic of nicknames and identity with a playful touch that is brought to life perfectly by her vibrant but soft-edged illustrations. She skillfully combines a primary palette and focuses on emotion with moments of high drama beautifully expressed in terms of scale. Told in first person, with speech bubbles, the prose is simple but engaging.
The deeper messages about identity and communication within the book are wrapped in a joyful, humorous story perfect for the nursery.
Review by Dr Kate Lee