If you’ve had the opportunity to read any of Kevin Henkes’s children’s books, chances are you’re a fan. With Chrysanthemum and Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse being my favorites, I was anxious to try one of his newest novels: The Year of Billy Miller. Billy Miller is a funny little boy who is quickly growing up and struggling with things you’d expect any boy his age to deal with: bullying, feeling inadequate and scared, but also being ready to grow up. Some of the elements that are so entertaining in Henkes’s picture books are carried over in this book–the familiarity making it even more enjoyable. Of course he included some little boy humor that naturally had my four and six-year-olds giggling. Be aware of a brief frightening scene (that is easy to foresee) that you may choose to edit a bit for younger audiences. This fun story will appeal to anyone who enjoys Kevin Henkes’s other books as well as those who would love an amusing, light read about a second grader.
Violence/Gore: Few (6) brief incidents including character falls and ends up unconscious; character imagines biting and poisoning another character, causing death; imagining a scary monster that eats children; character makes up a story about an explosion; mention that some people have dead moms; animal dies.
Sex/Nudity: Few (2) very brief incidents including parents kissing; character imagining scary, naked monster.
Mature Subject Matter:
Lying, brief mention that some people have dead moms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: