Just Imagine

How Billy Brown Saved the Queen

Authored by Alison Healy
Illustrated by Fintan Taite
Published by Little Island Books

A whimsical tale with memorable characters, heart and humour.

Billy Brown isn’t good at much. The boy on crutches beat him in a race, mum thought his picture of gran was an alien, and when he sings small children cry. But then he discovers he can do something for the queen that the biggest brains in the country can’t. What follows is a lost medal, royal visitors, very very long names, and lots of biscuits.

There is so much to like about this book. For one, the characters, which really make the story pop. Billy wants to find his place in the world, find what he’s good at, which is going to be affirming to many of this book’s 7-9 year old readers.

His parents, slightly barmy but loving, will appeal to children as too will gran – an ex spy. Queen Alicia is heaps of fun when she comes to stay, and young readers will love the subversion of a formal figure viewing the world like a child.

Fintan Taite’s illustrations complement the text, and add to the humour in just the right way. The queen bewitched by the washing machine is my favourite.

A great class read for years 2 or 3, and perfect for one-to-one work with a slightly older reluctant reader. Billy Brown is fine addition to any teacher’s collection.