Billy overhears his mother worrying about a fall Billy had, and how it may cause him to forget things or not be able to cope with his grade 2 level work at school. Boys this age have big ears and take to heart things said about them! How this is resolved makes for an interesting story.

How does a typical grade two boy find the words to compose a poem for school, and how does he choose between a “haiku”, “limerick” or “acrostic”? Billy’s first effort is amusing but falls short. How does a quiet boy tell his father he doesn’t want to call him “Papa” anymore? The other boys might think he’s babyish, but Billy’s father takes the news a lot better than Billy expected. With a father-son discussion, he gently shows Billy that he will always be his papa, even if Billy no longer uses the word.

The book is divided into four chapters each highlighting a special relationship – Teacher, Father, Sister and Mother. Family values are highlighted. The stories are entertaining and feature ordinary happenings such as making a diorama, running ‘really fast’ and writing a poem for school. Dad features in a slightly different way as he is an artist and Billy’s primary caregiver.

Billy is often blundering and doubting himself, yet in these stories, through the support of his family, he succeeds in small ways and becomes anything but ordinary to the people that count – his family. He feels good about himself and is a quiet achiever. Seven year olds will enjoy having the story read aloud to them and emerging, confident older readers will enjoy independently reading it.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time mother of two.