05 December 2006

Billy is a beaut!

Billy - A Lolly Leopold Story
By Kate De Goldi
Illustrated by Jacqui Colley
Trapeze Publishing 2006

At last the next book in the Lolly Leopold series from Trapeze Publishing is here. Kate De Goldi and Jacqui Colley have succeeded in providing many more hours of reading pleasure with a great story about one of Lolly's classmates - Billy, who suffers from the inability to keep himself under control. The chaos this can cause peaks during the preparations for Pet and Produce Day but Ms Love, that heroine of the teaching profession, in calm and inventive in the face of his disruption and introduces him to The Quiet Club. The diversion technique, aided by Lolly's helpful suggestions to 'Think about what colour angry is. Or how it smells.' (like burnt biscuits!) expands Billy's horizons and wins him the prize in the end.

Jacqui Colley again excels with her collage creations, groovy cutout kids and peeks into Lolly's storybook with its sketches, quirky bits of info (areas of the brain, breeds of pig), and poetic insights. Kate's skill with language, juggling words with aplomb to create a sing-song text full of curious words that beg to be looked up and creating pictures as vivid as those in the illustrations.

As an adult with a long-ago history of Calf Club Days and pet lambs, not to mention the odd sand saucer and plate of pikelets, it was fabulous to see these activities as part of a contemporary school life

This book (and its predecessor Clubs - A Lolly Leopold Story) is great to share with children from five years and up, who will enjoy all the school details, but perhaps better appreciated by older children who will get just as much pleasure from reading the stories themselves and poring over the illustrations to discover every last detail (this will require many readings!). There is such a wealth of sophisticated picture books available that we must ensure the idea that picture books are only for the very young is firmly squashed.

Billy, like Ms Love, 'is a magnificent creature.' It deserves to be found under many Christmas trees this year - along with a collection of art and craft materials so children can create their own collage creations too.

Check out Lolly's website
www.lollyleopold.com. The reviews from Room 6 are a particular favourite of mine.

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