'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 1 May 2023

Review: Billy And The Giant Adventure

Autumn struggles with reading. The words won’t stay still on the page. 

When she begs her dad Billy to tell her and twin Jesse a bedtime story, a tremendous adventure unfolds as time is peeled back.

Billy, the main character of the verbal story, also has difficulty with words and learning. He  loves tools and gadgets, fixing and repurposing anything from the shed. 

With his strong group of friends – Anna, Andy, and Jimmy, they have explored the whole area where they live except Waterfall Woods. Reluctant to test the stories about strange happenings, everyone has kept away.

For Billy, it is now a challenge. Anna discovers a secret way over the huge flint wall that keeps them out. Her incredible climbing skills are put to good use and over they go. 

They discover another world where The Rhythm, the harmony that governs life in the woods, is different to nature they have experienced. They come across Basil, a  magical Sprite, who befriends the children after they save the Sprites from an enemy attack. 

This opens a world of discovery filled with continual adventures that leads the group to solve the mystery of who is polluting the water and disrupting the harmony of the woods.

This is a fast-paced read; inspiring, full of imagination and activity.  There is a bully, a secret map, evidence of giants, magical creatures, and unpredictable outcomes.

Fully illustrated chapters are filled with clever happenings and language that children love to read. The story is filled with environmental awareness, healthy eating habits with recipes included at the end, thought-provoking phrases, and acts of kindness.

I loved reading this book as its structure incorporates so many valuable examples for children, without being didactic. The leading characters are resourceful and compassionate, each owning a special gift. 

Definitely a winner, Billy and the Giant Adventure begins a series by the famous chef, Jamie Oliver. It has taken him four years to realise a long-held dream. He has drawn on his own life and experience with dyslexia, focusing on how much can be achieved when you find something you love to do.

Title: Billy And The Giant Adventure
Author: Jamie Oliver
Illustrator: Monica Armino
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $14.99
Publication Date: 18 April 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241637807
For ages: 10 – 14
Type: Middle Grade Fiction