Friday 3 June 2022

Bill and the Dream Angel

Bill and the Dream Angel by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker, illustrated by Jane Ray (Pan MacMillan Australia) ISBN 978-1-5290-5119-3 RRP $26.99 (HB)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Bill and the Dream Angel is a picture book about Guardian Angels, moving house and overcoming one’s fears. It tells the story of Bill, who moves with his family to the country, where he has a larger room and lots of space to play football in the garden. However, at night he sees a large pair of eyes staring back at him from outside his window, which freaks him out (not surprisingly). Even though his mum tells him there are no such thing as monsters, he wants to go home to their old flat in the city. The story shifts to Destiny the dream angel, who sees from on high what is really going on. Through influencing people’s dreams, she helps Bill to see that the eyes belong to a family of owls who live in the roof. Once this is explained, Bill is no longer afraid.

This attractive picture book is a generous length of fifty-two pages, with several double-spread pages of illustrations only. The pictures are colourful with lots of detail, depicting the English countryside, the new house, Destiny the Dream Angel, and the owls that live in the roof. A Guardian Angel bookmark is attached to the book with a ribbon. This is a book for early primary children, rather than preschoolers, given the larger number of words and the theme of facing your anxieties.

The authors are a mother and son: prolific adult writer Lucinda Riley (who died in the summer of 2021) and her son Harry Whittaker, a BBC presenter. Bill and the Dream Angel is based on stories Lucinda used to tell Harry, when he was a child growing up in Ireland. It is part of a series of Guardian Angel books including Grace and the Christmas Angel and Rosie and the Friendship Angel.

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