William Bee was born in London, but now lives in the English countryside. As well as writing children's books, he races a vintage sports car, is an international skier, and when at home, enjoys tending his lawns and meadow. William Bee loves Saturdays, the colour green, tabby cats, the Queen, Rolls Royces, fruit scones, David Niven, staying at home...
This visually enticing story introduces a boy "who can be very difficult to please." Billy-drawn as a square-headed block of a boy-and his father, whose raised eyebrows and tipped hat suggest a larger, more animated version of his son, a master of the pre-adolescent rejoinder, "whatever." The boy's apathy doesn't deter his father, however, who is bent on getting a reaction from his son. He shows Billy "something very tall"; readers must tilt the book for a vertical view of a collage giraffe, with photographic elements of a ruler incorporated into its impressive neck. The animal holds Dad's hat in his teeth and, on the next spread, replaces it on Billy's head. Upping the ante, the man plays Billy a tune on "the world's curliest trumpet," and flies him into outer space, always to the same response: "Whatever." Finally Dad introduces Billy to "the world's hungriest tiger," who eats him. This at last prompts words from the boy, but now it's Dad's turn to utter the refrain. Bee illustrates this cautionary tale with highly stylized visuals that are baroque in their intricacy. Heavy black lines contain swirls, floral patterns and letters, contrasting with the characters' stolid shapes. The eye-pleasing results go a long way toward injecting some fun into the book. Ultimately, however, the story comes off as more mean than spirited. Parents may grin at the ending, but young readers may have trouble finding the humor. Ages 5-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2-A cautionary tale with spare text and striking graphics. Billy "can be very difficult to please." Indifferent to his father's attempts to engage or impress him, the child responds to each try with an unenthusiastic "-whatever." Dad plays the "world's curliest trumpet," bounces Billy off the "bounciest castle," and even takes him on a trip to "the edge of outer space." Yet each effort fails to garner more than the same bored reaction. After the "world's hungriest tiger" fails to scare the impassive youngster, the animal swallows Billy whole. "Dad! I am still in here you know...." In a fitting turnabout comes Dad's reply, "-whatever." Bold, digitally created illustrations on stark white pages (except for outer space, which is on blue) engage the audience and mirror the humor in this slightly callous story that is reminiscent of Maurice Sendak's Pierre (HarperCollins, 1962). Children will enjoy the scrolls and curves of the "curliest trumpet" and the ridiculous image of Billy being bounced out of the "bounciest castle," and recognize that the large, orange tiger is a creature to be reckoned with, even if the unconcerned Billy does not. Children will take pleasure in the book and get a laugh as well.-Piper L. Nyman, formerly at Fairfield Civic Center Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The illustrations are reminiscent of the '50s whilst the end papers
could be done by the great Edward Bawden. The end of the book, by
the way, is enormously satisfactory in the best tradition of the
cautionary tale. Pure delight. * Carousel *
A delightful cautionary tale. * Sunday Telegraph *