Monday 26 May 2014

Billy is a Dragon: First Bite

Billy is a Dragon: First Bite by Nick Falk, illustrated by Tony Flowers (Random House Australia Children’s)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9780857983053
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9780857983060
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Ta-da! From the exceptional author/illustrator team of Falk and Flowers (Saurus Street series) comes another hilarious series perfect for beginning readers aged six and up.

Nine-year-old Billy has a ‘hurty finger’; it’s been bitten by an odd-looking lizard at Benny’s Pet shop. Billy’s dad peers through his thick-lensed glasses at Billy’s finger. ‘Alien invaders,’ he says as the bacteria charges about inside his wound.

Closer to the truth would be … bitten by a DragON lizard, which mysteriously starts to transform Billy’s body into that of a dragon.

With two allies – Bertha the bulldog and his best friend Jeannie, and one enemy, Bludger the bully, Billy (yes, lots of ‘B’ words), uses his new-found ability to change form as a weapon against the school bully.

The transformation at school is hilarious. ‘My mouth’s turning into a snout. My teeth are enormous. And my eyes have … turned bright red.’ Billy can fly. He can breathe fire. But there’s one thing missing; he can’t be with his family and that’s no fun at all.

After some shenanigans in the family home, Billy is wrestled, netted and taken in the back of the family car to the zoo, where he tries his own version of The Great Escape.

Billy has to find out how to undo the DragON spell. Back at the pet shop where it all began, Benny, the ‘tufty ginger moustached and sticking out front teethed’ owner (hmm … looks a little like a hamster) says, ‘Did you think you were the only shapeshifter in town?’

With short, active sentences, present tense and 1st person, Billy is a Dragon is a sit-down-and-read-me-till-you’re-finished book. The use of descriptive words that are accented in unusual, almost onomatopoeic fonts, such as: weird, sprint, bursting, dissect et al will help new readers to enjoy and immerse themselves in the action. It’s all part of the humour of reading.

Tony Flowers’ quirky illustrations and comically labelled drawings add to the joy and accomplishment of reading. Falk and Flowers are a dynamic duo of creativity. Book 2 – Billy is a Dragon – Werewolves Beware! is the next instalment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.