Review of The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes

The Year of Billy Miller

by Kevin Henkes

Greenwillow Books, 2013. 229 pages.
2014 Newbery Honor Book

Kevin Henkes gets kids. He knows what they think about, what they worry about, and how they act. And he’s able to express that on the page.

Billy Miller is about to start second grade. His teacher says it’s the Year of the Rabbit. But Papa says, “It’s the Year of Billy Miller.”

He has some setbacks right from the start. He’s afraid his new teacher will think he doesn’t like her. So he comes up with a plan to make things right. But plans don’t always go smoothly.

Other scenarios Billy deals with include making a diorama, dealing with his little sister, trying to stay up all night, and writing and reciting a poem. They’re child-size episodes and everything Billy does rings true.

This book reminds me of the Clementine books, looking at life from a child’s perspective. Billy’s a little more worried about things than Clementine, but he also can’t hold still. He will win just as firm a place in children’s hearts.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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