#BookReview: Silly Billy by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

A great children’s book tackling the subject of worries, with a surreal twist.

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Silly BillyTitle: Silly Billy

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Billy is a bit of a WORRIER.  He WORRIES so much, he can’t sleep.  Luckily Grandma knows just what he needs to help him overcome his fears – And once Billy learns Grandma’s secret, he finds he never has to WORRY again.

My Review:  This is a great book for kids who naturally worry a lot. Billy worries about a lot of things, hats, shoes and clouds to name a few. Billy feels silly but then he speaks to his Grandma and she tells him a special secret. The paperback is roughly A4 in size, though wider, and is filled with thick glossy pages of colourful illustrations.

Very simple image to start the story.

I like this book and the message it has, especially because Billy’s cure for his worries is something so simple and that has been used for generations in South America. I don’t really want to spoil the story by telling you what Billy uses to stop worrying but it’s a clever and simple thing. The story of ‘Silly Billy’ is generally very simple and although Billy is ‘cured’ of his worrying in the middle of the book, the tale isn’t over and there’s something funny that happens towards the end. The ending of the story is satisfying and I like the fact that there’s a message encouraging kids to share this ‘cure’ for their worries and the fact that it’s so easy for kids to make themselves.

The images in the story are quite simple and yet tell the story very well. I like the pictures of Billy’s worries, they have a slightly surreal feel to them such as shoes walking themselves out of the window. I also love how colourful some of the characters on the last pages are, it fits well with the colours on the book cover.

Fun colourful images alongside monotone worries with surreal twists.

Overall this is a great book for kids especially those that worry about a lot of things, and a great book for adults to read to kids if they want to discuss any worries kids might have.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne Collection).


Are you a bit of a worrier like Billy?  What do you think of this book?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Willy the Champ by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

An interesting book dealing with the subject of bullies in a fun and surreal way.

Willy the ChampTitle: Willy the Champ

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Willy is different. He likes to read books and listen to music; he’s no good at sports, although he tries; and wherever he goes he gets laughed at. But when he’s threatened by the horrible Buster Nose he really comes into his own.

My Review:  I’m not sure what to think of this book. I’m not a massive fan of the Willy the Chimp books although I’ve come to enjoy quite a few of them. ‘Willy the Champ’ is a story which seems a bit similar to ‘Willy the Wimp’. The paperback is quite small, around A4 in it’s width (if you hold an A4 sized paper upright) although shorter than A4 in height. It’s filled with thick and glossy pages which themselves have lots of very colourful images.

The story starts by showing us what Willy likes to do, listen to music, read and visit the park with his friend Millie. But Willy isn’t really good at anything that the gorillas are good at. He tries to be sporty, like them, and do what they are good at such as bike racing and football but Willy isn’t like the others. Plenty of kids could easily relate to Willy’s character in this book, I certainly wasn’t the sporty type at school and I can instantly recognise that feeling of not being good at anything the other kids are good at. The story is very short and it seems like Willy won’t be good at anything until he faces a bully called Buster Nose.

Colourful images from the start.

The way Willy deals with Buster Nose is funny and it’s an okay ending to the book, but this just didn’t seem as good a story as other Willy books I’ve read. Any message of standing up to a bully and managing to overcome them in this way seems to be lost a little in this tale and I’m not sure a lot of kids would understand any message the book has, instead enjoying the basic story and pictures more.

I like the illustrations. There are funny and many of the pages have a surreal feel to them such as a gorilla in the park taking a banana for a walk! I do like all the pictures though the way that some of the gorillas look in the pool or Buster Nose himself are a bit strange. The book was originally printed in the 80s though and some of the strange outfits of the gorillas in the books might be due to that.

Very colourful images with interesting surreal things to spot.

Although I like the illustrations, I just didn’t like this story as much as the other Willy books I’ve read and I’m not sure all kids would enjoy this book.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne Collection).


What do you think of this book?  Have you read it before?  Do you like surreal books?  Please let me know all your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also follow My Peacock Books in these places: 

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#BookReview: His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones & David Roberts #MPBooks

A fun picture book tackling the issue of new siblings in a different and fun way.

His Royal Tinyness book coverTitle: His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story

Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones

Illustrator: David Roberts

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Once upon a time there was a Happy Family.  Then, one horrible, NO GOOD day, a new ruler was born…BEHOLD – His Royal Highness King Baby!

My Review:  This is a funny book with a great message and is perfect for any kids with younger siblings who may sometimes feel jealous of the attention they’re getting. ‘His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story’ is about A4 in height although wider than a typical A4 piece of paper. The hardback book comes with a sleeve which has some lovely bronze shiny outlines on the cover. Inside the book is filled with thick matt pages with lots of colourful illustrations and text.

The story is a simple one and is told by the little girl in the book. She starts by telling us how there was once a happy family with a mom, dad, a gerbil and her, a wonderful and perfect princess (her). But then a new ruler, King Baby(her baby brother) was born which meant that the princess was no longer cared for by her parents and left to fend for herself in the world. The story is actually very funny and is entirely from the perspective of the little girl who doesn’t like her new baby brother or the way her parents now look after him so much and seem to not care about her at all. She has to cook for herself, and generally take care of herself all alone while her parents are busy with the baby. However the story isn’t quite as true as it first appears and the illustrations show exactly how ‘true’ the little girl’s story is.

Fun illustrations among the text.

The pictures in this book are very funny. I love the way that they show so much detail about what’s really going on, such as all the heavy shopping that the poor princess has to carry (which is actually just one aubergine in a basket while dad carries bags of shopping!). Although most of the pictures are what is actually happening in the family, some pages show the girl’s own drawings and how she perceives how things are. I really like the style of pictures, there’s something about the way the characters look that I just enjoy and I like the hidden extras in each picture, not only of what is really happening with the girl but all the little extra things in the pictures to spot including the gerbil.

Some reviewers haven’t enjoyed this book much, stating that some children wouldn’t enjoy it, but I really have and can see kids enjoying this too although they might need an adult to sit down with them and point out all the little things in the pictures and show kids that the princess isn’t as poor and alone as she thinks. The whole story is about the girl’s imagination, the fact that she says right at the start that she has long flowing hair, when in fact she is wearing yellow tights on her head, shows how the whole story is just a bit of make believe. The ending is funny and has a wonderful message of getting along with younger siblings. I won’t give away the ending but it shows that all is well and kids shouldn’t fear or get upset about having younger brothers or sisters (particularly baby ones) as there’s plenty of good things including the bonus on the last page!

Funny pictures show what’s happening well.

Overall I really liked this book and think it would be great fun for any kids to read. Whether kids ‘get it’ probably depends on how involved an adult is in reading the story with the kids, showing all the fun extras, as well as how creative and imaginative the kids are. I certainly would have enjoyed and understood this book, even as an only child, as I have always been very imaginative and could relate to the girl and her imaginative story telling.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think about this fun way to tackle the subjects of baby brothers and sisters?  Would you enjoy reading a book like this?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Look What I’ve Got! by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

A powerful and surreal picture book with a really important message.

Look What I've Got! book coverTitle: Look What I’ve Got!

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture book

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Description: Jeremy, it seems, has everything: a new bicycle, a pirate outfit, an enormous bag of lollipops. But he won’t share anything with Sam. Could it be, though, that Sam has something far more valuable? This stunning book is filled with visual jokes and a message to inspire.

My Review:  This is a brilliant book with a clever story which may have been missed on some people. ‘Look What I’ve Got!’ seems like a simple story but there’s a clever message in this story which some kids may need explaining.

The book is a little smaller than A4 in size and is filled with thick glossy and colourful pages. The tale seems quite simple, Sam goes for a walk and during this walk he meets Jeremy who shows off his new bicycle to Sam “Look what I’ve got! I bet you wish you had one.” Jeremy doesn’t let Sam ride his bike, instead he just shows it off. But Sam doesn’t seem bothered. The story continues along this familiar theme, Jeremy constantly showing off what he has but never sharing it with Sam.

The first page of the book

The illustrations are very clever and there is much more to each picture than first appears. The pictures are nice and clear but all the clever little extras you see make this quite a detailed book too. For example there are ears on the wall ‘The walls have ears’ and the drain pipe in the same picture looks like a snowman when you take a few minutes to spot it! All these strange images give the book a really surreal, Dali-like feel and it makes it very fun for both adults and kids to spot all the little things.

The story has a simple end which is satisfying if you understand the message of the tale, but it may be lost on some kids without adults pointing out what this book is really about. I’m not spoiling the actual story of Sam and Jeremy but I don’t feel I’d do justice to how brilliant this book is without saying that it’s all about the power of imagination. Although everywhere Sam goes might seem normal at first, his imagination conjures up all sorts of strange things. The main message of the book is that imagination is far better than all the material things that Jeremy has and it’s this that makes the book such an amazing read and one I’d really recommend.

Fun and clear images with some fun surreal extras.

All the illustrations are great, I especially like the fish images in the park as well as the hidden things in the last page, however there is an image of a park keeper that looks like Adolf Hitler which may shock some people. This book was first published in 1980 though, when I believe Hitler was a more known character among both the adults and kids. Although an Amazon reviewer has pointed out the Hitler reference and complained about it, I believe that it’s simply Sam’s imagination creating a Hitler likeness for the park keeper (what he sees as a very bad/evil man) and if the book had been written today it may have been an image of Voldemort or some other character which kids know to be bad. I still believe this book can be read to kids today, they just need to be told that this park keeper looks like a very bad man from history and they can learn more about it when they are older.

Clever surreal pictures mirror the real ones.

Overall I really do like this book. The message of imagination over material things is so clever and one that many kids these days may benefit from. I also think many kids may relate to Sam, I certainly did as I couldn’t have a wealth of toys when I was younger but my imagination was very strong. A great book both kids and adults will enjoy.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne collection).


What do you think of this book’s message?  What about books with surreal images?  Please let me know any thoughts you may have on this book or anything else.  I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: The Christmas Story: An Exquisite Pop-up Retelling by Robert Sabuda #MPBooks

A very stunning pop-up book for Christmas which will awe and amaze all ages!

The Christmas Story Pop upTitle: The Christmas Story: An Exquisite Pop-up Retelling

Author/Illustrator: Robert Sabuda

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Pop-up book

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Description: Long ago, in a stable in Bethlehem, a baby was born on a bright and starry night.  This child was the Son of God and he would be the saviour of all man kind.  the wondrous story of the birth of Jesus – born in a stable, laid in a manger, visited by shepherds and the three wise men – is brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six exquisite scenes.  The Christmas Story is a visual delight and a book for the whole family to treasure at Christmas.

My Review:  This book is amazing, I’ve never seen anything so stunning and beautiful! ‘The Christmas Story’ is a pop up book, a little bigger than A5 in size but thicker than most pop up books I’ve seem before. When I first saw it, the size reminded me of a photo album, it’s spine is so wide. The book tells the story of the nativity and is filled with just six amazing scenes which all tell the story really well.

As soon as you open it you will discover just how amazing this pop up book really is. The first page tells the story of where Mary finds out from Gabriel that she will have a baby, the Son of God. There is a little bit of text on the page, as there is with every double page, but it’s the pop up artwork that really catches your eye. I’ve seen pop up books and cards before and sort of know how they work (the mechanics of the pop up), but I’ve never seen anything as elaborate as you find in this book. The first page features the angel Gabriel high above Mary who is inside her home. Gabriel literally pops out of the top of the book with Mary behind her window, looking out and there are plants and a fence lying in front of her. It’s impossible to explain it in words, the pictures really show how this book works and it’s just so stunning to look at.

Stunning image with parts of the story coming out of the page!

The six double pages all feature a different part of the story, with different pop up designs used to illustrate each part. Every single design is very different to the others. Some are straight pop ups where things just seem to stand up, while others have parts coming out of the pages or twisting around other parts of the pop up. Some of the pop ups look better when lying the book flat on a surface, which others look better when the book is standing up. But they all have one thing in common, and that’s their amazing and beautiful design.

All of the pop up pictures are in white, with added sparkling white and gold and a background page colour. It’s amazing how detailed some of these pictures are considering they are all this one general shade. You can see characters like Mary and Joseph very clearly, and it’s all done through either cutting out holes in the card or layering smaller sections of card on larger ones. Every pop up design is amazing and I’m in love with all of them, but my favourite pop up is the star that the wise men see, it spins a little when you open the book. I also love all the sheep in the field with the shepherds!

A different angle of the page shows just how much the different parts ‘pop’ out of the page!

Although the pop ups all do work, and very well, I did have issues with two of the designs when I first opened this book. The second design where Mary and Joseph are travelling through the desert has a sun on top of the sand dunes, but the sun was folded back and I had to carefully unfold it (when the book was fully opened) to be able to open it completely and see the complete image. This no longer is a problem when closing and opening the book but just something to be aware of if you have the same issue. The second page that has a slight problem each time I open it is the nativity (not the last page), where the animals and Mary and Joseph are all gathered around the manger. This page should fully open to show all he animals peeking around to look at the baby, but the animals need a little tug and pull to get the paper to fold perfectly out. None of these are a big issue when using this book but if you find the book doesn’t open properly (it should be able to open almost flat) then see if there’s a slight fold in the paper somewhere that could do with a pull or push to get the whole pop up mechanics to work properly.

Another stunning page showing different pop-ups, with the right lighting in the room you can create great shadows too!

I would definitely recommend this book for all ages!. It’s such a beautiful piece of artwork that you’ll want to look at it again and again. I’m still mesmerised at how detailed and complex all the pop ups are. I’ve even considered leaving the book open on the last page under the tree, as it’s so sturdy and a perfect nativity scene for leaving under the tree. Overall I can’t recommend this enough, and I’ll certainly be looking into more pop up books by the same author.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this stunning pop-up book?  Do you enjoy pop-up books or books that tell the story of the nativity?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Willy and the Cloud by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

An interesting book with a more complex story than first appears.

Willy and the Cloud book coverTitle: Willy and the Cloud

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: One day Willy goes to the park. It’s a sunny day, but a cloud hovers over him and he can’t join in the fun. What can Willy do to make this mysterious cloud go away?

My Review: This is a really clever story and one that is deeper than it first seems. Willy the Chimp decides to go out one day to the park, but a small cloud is following him. No matter how much he tries to outrun the cloud it’s always there, and it makes him sad.
The paperback I have is wider than A4 in size but shorter and is filled with thick glossy pages of some very good illustrations.

At first this story seems a simple one about Willy’s experience with a cloud. (SPOILER: The rest of this paragraph reveals the whole story) The more he tries to outrun the cloud and forget about it, the bigger it seems to get, until at last Willy gets angry at the cloud and it rains making Willy feel better, even happy.

Simple images show what is happening.

Although this story can of course be taken in the literal sense of Willy dealing with the cloud in the sky, and this is how kids would first see this story, it is also a good book that adults can use to discuss feelings with children. Of course the cloud can be a cloud of dark emotions and the way Willy deals with it, and the outcome afterwards is something which can be talked about with kids, so those that might be prone to keeping their own feelings bottled inside can feel like they can express themselves.

The illustrations are great and just like the other Willy the Chimp books although there seems to be a lack of the more surreal type pictures I’ve come to expect from Anthony Browne’s books. After reading quite a few of the books in the series I still find the dressed up gorillas slightly strange and funny but that’s just my own opinion and nothing against the book itself. The pictures are clever in the way they have more colour in the happy parts and a paler shade in the moments when the cloud is all around Willy.

The ending of the story is a satisfying one whether reading more into this book, or the basic cloud story. Despite the fact it’s a good ending though I am finding it hard to rate this book as I just don’t feel that the message comes across as easily as it should, and I think some adults might miss the meaning, indeed I did the first time I read this.

Funny and very colourful images.

I think kids will enjoy this book on the pictures and the basic cloud story alone, but with the deeper message that can be read from this book can be a good story for adults to discuss further with kids especially if there are children who tend to seem unhappy or shy with letting out their feelings, (though it has to be said that letting out feelings doesn’t have to take the angry route it did in the book). Overall though a great book!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of the Anthony Browne Collection).


Have you read any Anthony Browne books?  What about Willy the Chimp?  Do you like the look of this book?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Football School Season 2: Where Football Explains the World by Alex Bellos, Ben Lyttleton & Spike Gerrell #MPBooks

A book that’s fun to read regardless of whether you enjoy the sport or not.

Football School book coverTitle: Football School Season 2: Where Football Explains the World

Authors: Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton

Illustrator: Spike Gerrell

Publisher: Walker Books

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Description: At Football School, EVERY lesson is about football.  This book is packed with true stories, real science and fascinating facts.  Find the answers to all these questions: What is a Vomitory?  Why are footballs NOT round?  Where do goalkeepers let in chickens?  What can we learn from dinosaur poo?

My Review: This is such a fun book for any football fan but it will also spark an interest in those that aren’t! ‘Football School Season 2’ is the follow up book to ‘Football School season 1’ although you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one.

Aimed at kids this hardback book is filled with lots of fun facts and illustrations all centred around football but done in a very fun and unique way. Because this is football school the book starts with an introduction and a timetable set out like a school timetable with subjects such as biology, maths and art. These subjects are actually chapters in the book and I really like the fun way this book is arranged. The whole book has a slight ‘Horrible Histories’ sort of feel to it as there are illustrations throughout that are silly, the facts you learn along the way are sometimes a little weird and icky (especially the first chapter on urine!), and there are funny jokes throughout.

The authors introduce themselves in a fun way.


Although the book feels fun to read there are lots of interesting facts to learn which makes this much more interesting than just any funny book. The first chapter for example teaches kids about urine, which might seem weird and slightly off putting but I’m impressed with how the biology of the urinary system is explained to kids and found some of the extra football related urine facts really interesting. Every chapter ends with a quiz to see if you remember what you’ve learned, with answers to the questions found at the back of the book.

A new feature in this book which wasn’t in the original is the after school club. This is like a mini lesson but focuses more in techniques that kids can really try out to improve their balance, mind, health (with some great smoothie recipes), relaxation techniques, and even exercises to improve your feet, some of which I’m going to try out (even as an adult) as they seem to be very useful in stretching ligaments and improving muscles and balance.

Fun illustrations throughout the text 🙂


The illustrations in this book are what make this so fun. All the illustrations are in shades of black and white but are just fun to look at. They are very funny and along with the funny facts you just can’t help but laugh at some of the things you see. What is also fun is the fact that each page has illustrations throughout and it breaks up the text making it easy and more fun to read, and I love the fact that the authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton are drawn throughout the book adding their own humour and fun jokes at the start of each lesson.

This book is aimed at kids but I’m sure some adults will enjoy looking at this too. It would be perfect for any football fans but it’s also a book I think some non-football fans might enjoy. As somebody who doesn’t follow football I can say that I’ve found it really fun and interesting to read and it’s certainly made me a little more interested in the sport.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Do you enjoy football?  What about this book?  Is this a book you think you might like reading?  Let me know your thoughts, I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

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