Friday, May 23, 2008

Silly Billy by Anthony Browne

Billy is a worrier. He has typical worries like clouds and rain. He has atypical worries like hats and shoes. He has an active imagination that takes his worries to dramatic ends like shoes walking by themselves out the window or rain filling his room matress deep in water. Is that a shark fin slicing through the waves?

His father comforts him. His mother reassures him. But worriers are strong. Worriers can resist the strength of comforting fathers and reassuring mothers.

Finally, when on a sleepover to her house, Grandma gives him a solution. (Later readers learn this solution is a Guatemalan legend.) Worry dolls. Simply tell your worries to the tiny worry dolls, place them under your pillow, and they will do your worrying for you while you get a good night’s rest.

This work great! Billy sleeps like a log…for a while, until a new worry strikes. Billy is now worried about his new friends, the worry dolls! Billy, however, with wisdom gained from his grandmother, comes up with the perfect solution.

My favorite parts of the book are the seemingly framed photographs of Billy’s worries. Even kids who share similar worries will see the silliness in the pictures. The book certainly doesn’t end up where I thought it would – I didn’t predict any Guatemalan legends – but the resolution is clever, and I found myself proud of Billy and his creative solution.

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