Sunday, February 11, 2024

Today's read... Billy and the Giant Adventure by Jamie Oliver

I've had today's read in my pile for a little while now and was just waiting to get the chance to finally get it in. This one does come from the renowned cook, Jamie Oliver, which did get a 'huh' when I first picked it up. I do like the cover quite a bit...the determination on those characters' faces and bikes is screaming Goonies to me. I'm expecting a lot of fun and, obviously, adventure. Also, this one has been out since January, so it shouldn't be a problem to get a copy. Maybe even at the library? (I haven't checked this out, yet, though).

by Jamie Oliver
Middle Grade Fantasy
352 pages
ages 8 to 12

One pinch of adventure, a dash of friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and a HUGE spoonful of magic . . . 
Jamie Oliver, bestselling author and internationally renowned chef, delivers the perfect recipe for a page-turning children's fiction debut! 

Billy and his friends know that Waterfall Woods is out of bounds; strange things are rumoured to have happened there and no one in their village has ventured past its walls for decades... But when they discover a secret way in, Billy and his best friends, Anna, Jimmy and Andy, can't resist the temptation to explore! Only to quickly discover that the woods are brimming with magic and inhabited by all sorts of unusual creatures, including a whole community of sprites who need the childrens' help! 

With magical battles, a long-lost mythical city, fantastical flying machines, epic feasts and one GIANT rescue, get ready for an adventure you'll never forget!

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With a hint of Goonies and a smidgen of Epic, the rhythm of nature meets small town kids, who are out for adventure and fun.

Since Billy moved from London to the small village, he's been exploring every inch of the area with his new group of friends. Except the Waterfall Woods. When a storm creates a hole in the wall, he and his friends sneak in to take a peek and discover a forest full of creatures, which should only exist in fantasy tales. Teaming together with a sprite, Billy takes on a mission to figure out why the rhythm of nature isn't quite right, but this is only the beginning. While a town bully bugs him at every turn, 
he's also facing dangerous creatures while plunging into situations, which shouldn't even exist. Even with the help of his friends, it might be more than he can take on.

Imagination soars as Billy and his friends ride the line connecting reality with fantasy. While dealing with the normal problems of school and bullies, Billy also finds himself steering larger predicaments in the fantasy realm. The creatures are packed full of personality and quirks, making each one exciting to meet, whether good or bad. These are vividly described with humor twisted in to keep any of them from growing dark or scary. Meanwhile, Billy and his friends also steer regular life with family, school, and other people in town. It creates a fun balance, which ignites the dreams of possibilities.

The family life surrounding Billy as well as the relationship with his friends is very wholesome and supportive. While he does have to deal with the town bully, these situations come with helpful suggestions from those around him and a very good attitude from Billy. He sticks as much as possible to a non-violent route but never plays the victim. And with a family like his, he has all the security and acceptance he needs.

While sold for the middle grade audience, I'd suggest this one more for the lower end. The text isn't overly difficult and the plot stays light and playful even with the more tense scenes. There is enough character depth to make it draw in but even this stays lighter with intentions toward younger readers. This gentle attitude also slides into the action as the stakes aren't extremely high, the violence always buffered, and the consequences kept minimal. It creates a fun read with a lovely sense of humor and excitement but never grows heavy. This is great for younger readers, but older ones are accustom to and will want more.

The illustrations add atmosphere, are well-done, and are enjoyable to flip through. They help the creatures come to life and add personality to Billy and his friends. 

All of this creates a fun, adventurous and light read with action and more. 

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I like fantasies set in this world, and this one sounds like one I'd like. And it's great that you think younger kids would like it even though it's 300+ pages long.