Middle Grade Review: The Year of Billy Miller

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The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 17, 2013)

Genre: Contemporary/chapter book

Source: Library

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

A 2014 Newbery Honor Book
A New York Times Bestseller

Award-winning, nationally bestselling author Kevin Henkes introduces second-grader Billy Miller in this fast-paced and funny story about friendship, sibling rivalry, and elementary school. The Year of Billy Miller includes black-and-white art by Kevin Henkes and is perfect for fans of the Ramona books; Frindle, by Andrew Clements; and the Clementine series.

The New York Times declared: “Henkes’s delightful story is restrained and vivid . . . forgoing the overdramatic or zany, it shows the substance, warmth and adaptability of beautifully common family love.” When Billy Miller has a mishap at the statue of the Jolly Green Giant at the end of summer vacation, he ends up with a big lump on his head. What a way to start second grade, with a lump on your head! As the year goes by, though, Billy figures out how to navigate elementary school, how to appreciate his little sister, and how to be a more grown up and responsible member of the family and a help to his busy working mom and stay-at-home dad. Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. This is a perfect short novel for the early elementary grades.

My Thoughts:

I read this book to my kids at bedtime and they always begged for one more chapter. They both loved the story and talked about it during the day. I liked the story, but I didn’t love it as much as my kids. I felt like there was a bigger theme going on, but I couldn’t see it. Regardless, it was a sweet story about a boy making his way through second grade and his family. He helps each one of his family members in some way and they help him in turn.

Content: clean

4 STARS

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