When Billy Was a Dog

Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781760631826
The Book of the Year: Early Childhood 2020 Notable
A great read, blending a relatable story with enchanting illustrations to create a book with universal appeal. With Billy unable to own a puppy he does the next best thing and decides to be a puppy with some laugh-out-loud results. The author and illustrator have worked closely to produce familiar scenes (the dilemma of owning a pet) and make the characters appealing and believable. The illustrator has mixed charcoal, watercolour and gouache to depict Billy, his family and where they live. Facial expressions and body language portray the characters’ range of emotions and feelings. The bright, appealing front cover image immediately attracts and engages young readers. The book’s well balanced layout includes high-quality designed pages, text and illustrations and endpapers that tie in beautifully to the story. Young readers will identify with the important themes of family, perseverance and responsibility adding meaning to the story. Dialogue is convincing and believable with repetition of the word ‘Woof’ inviting participation. Elements of humour present in both the text and illustrations. The heart-warming ending provides a solid, satisfying resolution to a highly age appropriate story.