Monday, April 7, 2014

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

The Year of Billy Miller, which is a 2014 Newbery Honor Book, is the story of Billy Miller, his family and his year in second grade. It is a very mellow story, with each section focusing on a different member of his family and one focusing on his teacher.

Billy suffered a concussion during the summer before second grade and he is worried because of his injury that he isn't smart enough for second grade. To encourage him on his first day of school, his dad reminds him that it may be The Year of the Rabbit, but he believes it will be The Year of Billy Miller.

The book charts Billy's experiences over the course of the year, as he faces different challenges. By the end of second grade, Billy has gained a lot of confidence and maturity and he, too, believes it is The Year of Billy Miller.

This is a very sweet family story and Billy is an engaging character. The vocabulary and story are easy to follow. The font is fairly large and there is plenty of white space on the pages, however the book is long, 226 pages. I am not sure who the intended audience is. It would be a good book for second and third graders who are very good readers. Older children may find the plot slow and may be turned off by a book whose protagonist is a second grader.         2014
R. Rauch

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