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Billy's Bucket


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A funny, imaginative birthday story from the creator of the award-winning Eat Your Peas

About the Author

Kes Gray is one of the UK's bestselling writers for children, with over two million copies of his stories sold. He is the author of the award-winning DAISY picture books and fiction, as well as the creator of the chart-topping OI! series with illustrator Jim Field. Kes lives in Essex.


PreS-Gr 2-Billy wants a bucket for his birthday and, deflecting his parents' offers of a bike or computer, selects the perfect one from "Buckets R Us." When he fills it with water and peeks in, he is amazed to see a host of underwater flora and fauna as well as a submarine and scuba divers-all to his father's and mother's winking amusement. Before his bedtime, they teasingly ask if they may borrow his toy, and the child insists that they "must never ever ever" do so. The next morning, he finds that his dad has taken the bucket to wash the car and emptied the water-and a whale-into the street. This tribute to the power of imagination is rhythmically told with a broad sense of exaggeration in both text and art. Billy's insistence on the plainest of gifts reflects the real-life whims of ordinary children; the bottom-of-the-bucket eye view of the action will tickle their fancies, and they will appreciate the struggles of a child trying to convince a parent of an "imaginary" occurrence. The playful, acrylic cartoon illustrations feature bold lines and perspectives and are barely contained on the pages. This whale of a tale will find a ready audience of bucketeers whether shared one-on-one or in a group.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

All Billy wants for his birthday is a bucket. After a trip to Buckets R Us, ("That's the one I want... 19 shelves up, 78 across from the left!"), Billy fills his pail with water; inside he spies sharks, mermaids and divers. Parsons's (Digging for Dinosaurs) spunky stylized acrylics let Billy's visions appear to the audience, but not to Billy's slightly smug parents. Their condescending winks and teasing garner readers' sympathy for Billy. Vindication is inevitable: even though Billy vehemently warns his parents not to use his bucket, his dad borrows it to wash the car-and finds his car flattened by a grinning, mammoth whale. "It took Billy's mom and dad six hours, three fire engines, four cranes, and a shoehorn to get the whale back into the bucket. They never ever borrowed Billy's bucket again." Gray (Eat Your Peas) builds the story's tension skillfully, letting his relatively straightfaced delivery counterpoint the rib-tickling exaggeration found in the zany paintings. The illustrator contrasts Billy's bounteous underwater world with the parents' minimalist living room. Tilting lamps, distorted perspectives and a mix of objects fully rendered and others merely suggested, clearly announce that the boring old rules of physics do not apply. Imaginative youngsters will find kinship here, and cheer the parents' comical comeuppance. Ages 3-6. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Wittily written by Kes Gray and illustrated with colourful bravado by Garry Parsons, this book is a cunning way to introduce your youngster to a variety of marine life . . . It also happens to be an absolute scream * Unison *
A humourous tale about the power of our imagination and what happens when parents don't do as they're told! * With Kids *
Brilliantly illustrated, bright and jokey * Bournemouth Daily Echo *

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