Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin Henkes

The Year of Billy Miller


Kevin Henkes

Category: Children’s

Synopsis: Billy Miller is unsure if he’s ready for second grade, so his father pronounces it the year of Billy Miller

Date finished: 15 March 2014

Rating: ****

Something about this book made me take it home. I love Kevin Henkes’ picture books, so I wanted to try one of his books for readers. It was also just made a 2014 Newbery Honor book by the American Library Association. I appreciate Henkes for his gentle books for little kids.

This one was no different. While I haven’t read a book for second graders since I was in second grade, this seems just about right. No big words, but it didn’t talk down to the audience, either. Billy deals with an annoying little sister, a working mom, and a sometimes terse artist father. He has a best friend and also a classmate who makes life difficult. He has homework assignments and a teacher he likes. He worries about the bump on his head that he received at the end of summer vacation. He deals with disappointments (cancelled sleepover) and joy (hot dogs and ice cream). And his big plan is to stay up all night.  

I enjoyed this book very much. It wasn’t high on action, nor did it delve deeply into feelings. It was an uncomplicated read. I’m sure some will think it’s a little too “pure” and might prefer a bit more grit, but there is time enough for that. This is the kind of book I hope second graders all over America are reading.

Would you recommend this to a friend?

You might also enjoy:
Any of Kevin Henkes’ other books.

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