Billy’s Bucket

 Kes Gray and Garry Parsons

Red Fox. First published 2003

ISBN: 0-09-943874-7

You might have guessed, by now, I’m a sucker for rhyming picture books and seek them out, over prose, frequently due to their easy rhythm (when executed properly) and ability to help youngsters predict sequential rhyming words.

However, despite my passion for rhyme, I am delighted to add a prose text to my all-time favourites list.

“Billy’s Bucket” is a wonderful flight of fancy and a perfect read for 4-5 year-olds. My eldest son requested this book so often, when he was four, he could virtually recite the story by heart.

It is such a strong, quirky and funny text, it can withstand repeated readings without grown ups running for the hills or hiding the book.

Parental boredom is not something that should be encountered with this story, which centres around a young boy’s birthday wish to choose a bucket.

No ordinary bucket though!

Billy searches long and hard for the exact bucket he wants at Buckets R Us and spends his entire birthday peering into it, telling his parents of the wonderful things he can see, like sharks, submarines, mermaids and seals.

Billy’s parents snigger, wink and laugh at his outrageous claims but Billy warns them they must NEVER, EVER borrow his bucket.

The penultimate spread has a lovely reveal of an enormous blue whale squashing Billy’s Father’s car after he has borrowed it to wash his car. “I told you not to borrow my bucket,” said Billy.

It took Billy’s Mum and Dad six hours, three fire engines, four cranes and a shoe-horn to get the whale back into the bucket.

They never borrowed Billy’s bucket again.

This story serves to show that imagination is a magical thing – and children, above all, are the masters!

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