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

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Review: Billy and the Epic Escape

Billy and the Epic Escape is the sequel to Jamie Oliver's fantastic debut novel, Billy and the Giant Adventure. And what another epic adventure it is!

Autumn, who finds reading difficult, convinces her dad to continue the story of Billy and his friends Andy, Anna and Jimmy, after leaving the story of Waterfall Woods unfinished. 

He agrees and picks up where he left off.

Each of the friends owns a special ability which they call upon when necessary,  and a code name which they use over their walkie-talkies. 

They love to explore, discover, and help anyone in need.

It is Jimmy’s birthday. He wants an animal themed party.

The group is itching to get over the wall again, but the area is surrounded by a police search, as their elderly friend Wilfred is missing.

When Billy’s flint necklace starts to glow, he knows his Sprite friends are in trouble and need help.

They activate the portal to the magical world beyond and enter beginning another epic adventure. 

There are robots mimicking humans to contend with. A red lady that has remained young for ages that will do anything to maintain her youth, secrets to unravel, and many dangers and challenges for the characters.

Friendships are questioned. But this is an extremely resourceful team that proves with their actions, that inner strength lies in every child and adult, if they believe in themselves.

Clever, and as innovative with words as he in the kitchen, Oliver has created another fabulous read. Filled with optimism, positive energy, lots of wonderful expels of compassion and kindness, and lessons to be learnt by young readers about what is important in life.

This chapter book is filled with Monica Armino’s superb depictions of the characters and their expression. They complement the text and enhance the interest of the reader.

Jamie Oliver uses lots of references to food, includes recipes within the story, and then offers additional ones at the end of the book.  These entries successfully highlight to children the importance of eating nourishing food, and keeping a healthy body.

Happily, the loose ends left dangling indicate that there are more books to come in this excellent series. I look forward to reading the next one!

Title: Billy and the Epic Escape
Author: Jamie Oliver
Illustrator: Monica Armino
Publisher: Penguin, $14.99
Publication Date: 21 May 2024
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241683965
For ages: 8+
Type: Middle  Grade Fiction