A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Images of Billy tottering under a Jenga-like stack of books on "meteors, mythology, space travel, and mucus" suggest to young readers the things they can explore at the library. The book is full of mid-20th-century period detail, from Billy's fondness for the "funny papers" to his mom's cat's-eye eyeglass frames and beehive hairdo.
All your inspiration and hard work may not get the result you were hoping for -- but it can change your life for the better anyway. Imagination may get you into trouble sometimes, but it's important just the same.
Positive Role Models
Besides the determined, imaginative Billy, who spares no effort in researching, writing, and illustrating his snot-based hero's saga, tha adults really shine: the long-suffering principal, who regards Billy as his "most challenging student" and tries to find creative outlets for him; the kind, helpful librarian; and, most of all, Billy's supportive parents, who respond to irate notes from his teacher about his loony exploits with "Ahh! You should see the stuff he does at home!"
As you might expect from the title, Billy's Booger contains numerous references to boogers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, as the title suggests, Billy's Booger includes a lot about nasal secretions in all their forms, with gross humor galore to tickle the funny bone of young readers, especially boys. But this picture-book memoir by noted author-illustrator William Joyce about the fateful book he wrote in fourth grade (included) and its hero (Billy's "little green buddy") has a lot more going for it, from the funny, detailed illustrations of life in the mid-20th century to the exhausted but supportive adults who find different ways to offer encouragement. There's also a positive message that you might not get the result you're hoping for, but something even cooler could happen.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of William Joyce's work will be in heaven here, as the prolific, sweetly zany author-illustrator reveals how it all began back in the fourth grade. BILLY'S BOOGER has enough examination of mucus to delight any young gross-out enthusiast, but the backstory -- about how Billy's wild imagination, subtly encouraged and supported by kind adults, leads him to adventures and an awesome career -- quietly will inspire many young readers and open their eyes to intriguing possibilities. Joyce's appealing illustrations bring Billy, his family and friends, his era, and his wacky contraptions to life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.