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Nomax! CBCA Notable 2018 - Early Childhood Category

Shannon Horsfall

HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 9781460753927

The Book of the Year: Early Childhood 2018 Notable

Nomax! by CBCA Reading Time 1 February 2018

Reviewed by Penny Harrison


This hoot of a story is my four-year-old daughter’s pick of the year. Max is an exuberant and loyal dog, blithely unaware of the chaos he causes his long-suffering owner, whose constant refrain is ‘No Max’. Max hears this so often, he’s certain it’s his name. Clever rhyming text and mixed-media illustrations add to the charm.

Nomax! by The Bottom Shelf 30 August 2017


Reviewed by Barbara Braxton Teacher Librarian

He is such a clever puppy.  He knows his name already.  He hears it from dad so often-when he frees the morning paper from its wrap; brings Dad's slippers; helps dig the weeds from the garden...  And of course walks where
you visit the neighbours and the butcher are proof that he is well-loved. NOMAX ! NOMAX! NOMAX!

So why, then, is the name on his bowl so different?

This is an hilarious story that will resonate with anyone who has welcomed a puppy into their home.  With its rhyming text exemplifying the pace and the action, it follows a typical day in the life of a new puppy learning a
family's ways - with the words telling one story (from Max's perspective) and the pictures telling another.  Miss 6 adored it and there were some precious moments when we heard "No Max!" being shouted from the bedroom as
she read it to her almost-independent self and laughed out loud when she realised the joke halfway through. You know a book has hit the mark whenthat happens.


There are teaching notes available that focus on the dichotomy between pictures and text opening the way for a discussion about the concept of perspective, but this will quickly become a favourite with the early childhood sector because it is just so much fun.  

Nomax! by Reading Time 25 July 2017


Reviewed by Stephanie Ward


NoMax! is the story of a lovable dog that enjoys every moment of his day. Whether it’s fetching slippers or working in the garden, this well-intentioned pup is just trying to help.

So why is his master always calling him NoMax?

In a rollicking, rhyming first person narrative, NoMax tells readers about a typical day that includes being ever-so-helpful to his family. But in this clever picture book, the illustrations show a very different story to the one told by this cute canine. In fun, mixed media artwork, readers get a glimpse at the chaos this lovable mutt is causing around town. The final scene is a darling and very funny conclusion that adults and children alike will appreciate.

Written for children aged three and up, NoMax! is a hilarious story to read aloud with kids. Little ones, like my own five year old, love to yell out ‘NoMax!’ when the words appear at the end of one disaster after another.

And it’s fun to see their little faces light up when they realise that they are in on the joke. An instant favourite!

Was Not Me! by Buzz Words 2 July 2016



Reviewed by Sharon McGuinness


‘I have a naughty twin brother, who only I can see. A cheeky twin brother. His name is Not Me.’


Horsfall’s debut as author illustrator introduces us to every child’s alter ego ‘Not Me’. From the opening pages we know that there will be mischief, stern denials and parents with hands firmly on hips, but eagerly turn the pages, looking for Not Me’s next bit of mischief.


From the first reading, every child will identify with Not Me – even older children. Horsfall has created a clever rhyming story with a perfect ending – matched with her own simple, illustrations. On every page of Not Me’s antics, we view part of his leg and foot – running to the next page to create more havoc!


This is a thoroughly enjoyable story and one certain to be popular with anyone with children – mischievous or not.

Was Not Me! by Reading Time 1 July 2016

Reviewed by Chloe Mauger

An amusing tale told from the point of view of a young boy as he tries to put all the blame for his riotous escapades onto his invisible ‘twin brother’ Not Me.  This wild romp is told through rhyming text and lively illustrations, as Not Me’s cheeky, naughty adventures cause mess and mayhem throughout the house.

The author/illustrator uses many interesting design arrangements of text and illustration as lively action is depicted in a range of layout spreads with extensive use of white space, while imaginative use is made of many objects found in the house to create adventurous action and wild play. While visual clues of a foot and leg lead beginning readers to turn to the next page, this book is great fun for parents to share with pre-school kids.


Canny readers may already have guessed who Not Me really is, before his final acrobatics are reflected in the mirror.

Was Not Me! by Kid Town Melbourne


Was Not Me! by Shannon Horsfall, tells the story of a young boy and his cheeky twin brother, whom only he can see. 


His twin brother is called 'not me' and is the scapegoat for a lot of mischievous acts. 

He fights Pirates, he plays with Monkeys - he brakes beds, but his mother never seems to catch him in action. 

Was Not Me is a delightful, funny story that children will love and most parents will relate to. 
It lightly delves into the subjects of lying, blame and taking responsibility for your actions. 

Aimed at children 4 to 7 years old. 

Was Not Me! by Six Little Hearts 7 July 2016

Our book for review was definitely written with my children in mind - most probably yours too. Was Not Me! by Shannon Horsfall is a giggle-inducing tale which attracted my curious kids in droves, when I read this aloud to my younger two.

"I have a naughty twin brother, who only I can see.

A cheeky twin brother. His name is Not Me."

Can you see where this tale is headed already?! 


We all loved this read, about a playful little boy who doesn't like claiming responsibility for the never-ending stream of oopsies he causes, which bewilder his mother. This book is so very relatable and my kids smiled to themselves knowingly (and even looked a little guilty too), as they each recognised some well-rehearsed patterns of behaviour that tend to go on around here!


Shannon visited my year 8 focused literacy class.  Her presentation was very well organised, relevant and extremely interesting.  Shannon discussed the steps she went through to write and publish her book "Was Not Me".  This was closely linked to the theory behind story structures.  Students had an opportunity to see early drafting notes and  discuss the drafting, illustrating and publishing processes.  All of this was presented in a manner that suited my class perfectly and there were lots of opportunities for the students to ask questions and discuss their own story ideas.  Shannon was very generous with her time and also supplied resources that I will use with the class to highlight key concepts that were presented.  Her presentation has inspired my students and I would recommend her as a guest to other classrooms and schools.  She is a very talented, author, illustrator and presenter.


Mrs Natalie Irvin

Teacher  and Special Education Case Manager

Bribie Island State High School

Good writers need a purpose and should be able to consider their audience. A tough job indeed when you are seven years of age. However, during a beautifully crafted session with our Year 2 students Shannon Horsfall encouraged those children to be good, confident writers. The children were thoroughly engaged throughout the whole session hanging on to the children’s author and illustrators every word. They were guided through the process of writing a book and the skills needed to enhance their own writing. An entertaining and worthwhile session with children bursting with ideas that they then took to their classroom writing. I would highly recommend this writing experience and cannot wait to find out how the new book was put together in this years session.

Andrea Cochrane

Year 1/2 teacher 2017

Banksia Beach State School

Engaging, exciting and educational! Shannon Horsfall’s visit to my Year 3 classroom was all of these and more.

Presenting a reading of her new book “No Max” was a highlight the children will cherish. Shannon’s delightful nature and joy of sharing her work engaged even the most reluctant reader and writer as she drew them into her world of mayhem, mischievous characters and hilarious storylines. Each child came away from the visit with an understanding of how the stories “Was Not Me” and “No Max” were created and how they could apply these skills and techniques to their own writing. Her presentation inspired the children to write and illustrate their own stories.

Shannon’s stories are the “go to” choice of books during our reading time. The children love knowing the author has personally visited them and they have had the opportunity to ask questions and share their own story ideas with a published author! If the opportunity arises, I can highly recommend a visit by Shannon Horsfall.

Leanne Barron

Year 3 teacher 2017

Banksia Beach State School

Our school recently hosted author and illustrator Shannon for her Interactive book reading presentation. Shannon presented two sessions- one for our Prep cohort and another for our pre-Prep community, including two kindergarten classes and families with kindy-aged children and their younger siblings.


Shannon’s reading of her two books NoMax and Was Not Me! was engaging and left the children wanting more. The Prep children were particularly interested in the logistics of how a picture book is actually made, asking questions around how Shannon draws the pictures, how they get from her computer and into the book and what the factory machine looks like that makes the books. Shannon’s professional background meant that she could answer these questions knowledgably, and I can see potential for this publishing process to be a unique inclusion in Shannon’s presentation format.


We are intending to book Shannon to visit us again next year and I recommend her to any other schools or kindergarten centres who are looking for an enriching literacy experience for their students.

Tara Bruin

Prep Transition Officer 2017

Sunshine Beach State School

Shannon was professional, engaging, and accessible; her workshop demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of Picture Book creation and design.

Jackie Ryan

Program Manager 2017

Queensland Writers Centre

A great session for the students and great tips for me as a teacher. Fantastic handouts shared, I especially like the character profile template. What a great tool to help keep on track.

Belinda Sheppard

Year 4 teacher 2017

Banksia Beach State School

We were so very lucky to have children's author Shannon Horsfall visit year 4 today to impart her knowledge of drafting and editing when writing a story. She shared both her picture books 'Was Not Me!' and 'Nomax!', and even read a draft of her new chapter book. 

Jessica Thorburn

Year 4 teacher 2017

Banksia Beach State School

What a wonderful way to celebrate Book Week…with a real life author and illustrator – Shannon Horsfall! Shannon presented to all of our students here at Caboolture East State School, engaging them in the reading of her two picture books, “Was Not Me!” and “Nomax!”, the writing process, and creating illustrations. Shannon is particularly adept in adapting to a range of audiences – from Prep to year six, with all of her sessions being extremely appealing to both students and teachers. Shannon was certainly a hit with our kids and we are eager to have her back to take us deeper into the art of writing. 

Kerran Nicholson

Pedagogy Coach

Caboolture East State School

"Shannon provided such a great perspective on how to write in this particular genre (kids & picturebooks), as I normally write fiction drama. Great tips and great knowledge."


"Loved Shannon's workshop. I ended up making sure that a picture book will be my next project!"


"Shannon was very honest in her presentation - she provided many examples of what to look for in a good picture book and suggestions for writing. She was very generous with her advice. A fantastic presentation!"


"Great for all writers from beginners to experienced. Shannon was very professional in the delivery of her content. She created a warm and friendly environment where I felt comfortable to have a go and share. Thanks for a great workshop!"

"The live-streamed picture book workshop with Shannon Horsfall was absolutely brilliant."


Writing for Picture Books Workshop

Queensland Writers Centre

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