#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).


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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: 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: Piggybook by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

A fun and surreal book with a clever message about equality.

Piggybook book coverTitle: Piggybook

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture book

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Description: Mr Piggott and his two sons behave like pigs to poor Mrs Piggott – until, finally, she walks out. Left to fend for themselves, the male Piggotts undergo some curious changes!

My Review: I do like this book, probably one of my favourite of the Anthony Browne collection I’ve read. Mr Piggott and his two sons Simon and Patrick feel very important. Everyday their mum has to get their breakfast ready before they go to their very important school or very important work. After that she cleans the dishes, makes the beds, cleans the carpets and then goes to work herself. Every evening is the same too with mum doing everything while Mr Piggott and their sons relax. But one day when they come home they find mum isn’t there, instead she’s left them a note.

Fun and colourful illustrations.

This is a funny book with some clever details in the images which you might not first see. ‘Piggybook’ is a bit smaller than A4 in size and filled with thick glossy pages of colourful images and text. The story in Piggybook is predictable and there’s a clever twist on the words Piggy’ and ‘Piggott’. I don’t want to reveal too much as it’s far more fun to see it for yourself but kids as well as some adults might love spotting all the little pig images in the book and seeing where things morphed.

Pictures of Mrs Piggott contrast the rest of the story.

The images in the book are quite detailed with lots of extras to spot and are funny to look at especially after the transformation. The mother in the story has a slightly dated look to her if I’m honest (this book was first published in 1986 so I’m not surprised) but it’s nothing that any kids would really notice and it doesn’t take away from the humour in the story.

Although some reviews have stated that this book is sexist there’s actually a great message at the end that if anything is all for equality for women. The last page especially is a very happy and positive one and I think some reviewers may not have read the book to the end instead focusing on the specifics of how Mr Piggott and his sons treat Mrs Piggott.

Another example of the illustrations.

Overall this book has a great message and one that I think is great to teach to kids. And despite the message which IS a positive one, the book itself is a fun read too and has some very funny illustrations.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (provided as part of ‘The Anthony Browne Collection’)


Are you a fan of Anthony Browne?  What about books that give a message about fairness?  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 Tunnel by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

An interesting picture book with a fairy tale twist.

The Tunnel book cover Title: The Tunnel

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Once upon a time there lived a brother and a sister who were not at all alike. They fought and argued constantly. One morning they discover a tunnel, which changes them forever.

My Review: This is an interesting children’s story which has more depth than it first appears. A brother and a sister don’t get along and are completely different from each other. While the sister likes to read books alone and stay inside, the brother likes playing football with his friends and spending time outside. One day the siblings are forced to spend time together and then they find a tunnel. The paperback book is around A4 in size and is filled with thick glossy pages of illustrations and some text.

Colourful and clear images.

 

The story of ‘The Tunnel’ is quite a short one but it’s what happens when the children go through the tunnel that’s so interesting. I don’t want to spoil the story but I will say that the girl, who is afraid of going through the tunnel, is forced to search for her brother when he doesn’t return. The story of the siblings is based around a fairy tale but the book is far more interesting as there’s plenty of reference, though the pictures, to other fairy tales too.

The illustrations are simple at first but get more interesting the further into the story you go. Some of the illustrations are amazing with so many hidden creatures and things to spot, and images that look a little scary. The last few pages have a surreal feel to them and it’s interesting to spot all the other fairy tale images which at first glance you might not notice.

Detailed pictures with lots of interesting things to spot.

 

The ending of the story is short and simple and to me felt a little abrupt. I was hoping it would be a little more detailed but it’s still a good ending to the story and one which focuses on the siblings getting along. Overall I think kids would enjoy this book for all the pictures. I’m still spotting things hidden among the trees and I’m sure kids and adults would enjoy looking at some of the illustrations. I also think it’s a good book for telling the importance of getting along.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of The Anthony Browne Collection).


Do you like the look of this book? Do you enjoy books based on fairy tales?  Please let me know your thoughts whatever they are, I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also follow me in these places: 

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