Alone! has a distinctive rhythmic style that makes it perfect for reading aloud and joining in, rather reminiscent of the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.
There once was a boy called Billy McGill who lived by himself….on the top of a hill.
Billy McGill likes to be alone, in his house on the top of the hill. He is perfectly happy and comfortable and in his eyes he has everything he needs. But life doesn’t always turn out as you plan it says the blurb on the back of this cautionary tale of individuality.
One day a mouse appears. In his quest to rid his home of this intruder, Billy brings in various animals to try and encourage first the mouse, then the cat, dog, bear, tiger, sheep and eventually a family of humans to leave. However the unwanted guests are all rather comfortable in Billy’s house on top of the hill and show no signs of leaving. The result is a cacophony of noise and intrusion.
A trip to the zoo is considered necessary to find increasingly ‘scary’ animals to evacuate his overcrowded living space. The animals begin to show signs of needing others, such as the tiger with a cold who needs a vet and the sheep with an overgrown coat who needs a hairdresser. Billy finds himself surrounded by a community with needs and while they support and help each other, Billy’s feelings begin to boil over.
Eventually, Billy can stand it no more and amidst a thunderstorm he retreats to another hill at the other side of town. However, he soon begins to realise that maybe he is missing the company of people and animals around.
Wonderfully colourful and detailed illustrations throughout. I particularly liked the detail in the town and the zoo. A clever use of dark colours and impending weather helps to depict Billy’s anxiety in a non-confrontational way. Alone! has so much to engage youngsters with and develop discussion about what it means to be alone. There is also a fun interactive element, as the mouse appears on every page rather like to Usborne duck.
Barry Falls has already delighted us with It’s Your World Now and Alone! offers another opportunity for children to consider the world around them and how they fit into it.
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