What can I say? Another Newberry Honor book. Still plugging away at that goal, even though I have officially given it up. This one was great!
Newbery Honor 2014
4 stars: Warm hearted and simply delightful!
Billy's Papa is an artist and his Mama is an High School English teacher. Unlike most other kids he knows, his mom is the one who goes to work every day, while his dad stays home and takes care of him and his little sister Sal.
Billy's going to start 2nd grade soon, and he has some worries. 1--Is he smart enough for 2nd grade? 2-Is it babyish to call his mom and dad Mama and Papa? 3-Will his teacher like him? In the introductory letter his teacher sent home before school she said it was the Year of the Rabbit, but his Papa says it's going to be the Year of Billy Miller. He's pretty sure his Papa is right!
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I didn't know what to expect going into this one, and to be completely honest, I had been putting off reading it a bit, because it just didn't catch my eye. It was a happy surprise to find how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Beverly Cleary book, in that the situations are all everyday stuff that every kid goes through. The family is generally happy, even though the father is struggling with his art ("looking for a breakthrough".)
Sal made me chuckle a couple of times, and Billy's worries and the resolutions were like a window into my own 7-year-old's world. Things that seem small to the grownups loom large when you're 7. It's good to remember that. There was so much that made me smile. Billy is surrounded by loving adults--even the babysitter! You know that he's going to get all this stuff figured out.
I'm encouraging my boy to read it. I hope he does, because I think he would find a lot in common with Billy, and a lot to like about the story.
Have you read this one? What did you think? My favorite were the Drop Sisters.