This is book two of the Billy Growing Up series written to help children form positive values that will serve them at this stage in their lives. Each book uses the power of traditional storytelling to illustrate, guide, and shape their understanding in a safe environment. In this book, we discuss pride. There are two different kinds of pride. The first is selfless and is based on a person's achievements and qualities. Being proud of how we look, being part of a team or of one's country is a feeling that comes from deep within us. The other type of pride comes from our ego, which is arrogant, selfish, and gives us an inflated opinion of ourselves.
In the story, Billy is nasty to his best friend Ant and they have a row. Ant goes away, confused by his friend's behavior. He feels hurt and let down, so he decides to find a new friend. When Billy sees how easily Ant finds someone else to play with, he feels abandoned, becomes annoyed and convinces himself it's not his doing. There is no way he is going to apologize. It is Billy's ego that entices him to go and find his own new friends to show Ant he doesn't need him. Even though it feels a bit uncomfortable, he's feeling confident. He'll show Ant he doesn't need his friendship! Is Billy the sort of person to have as a friend? Will it be possible for Billy and Ant to be mates again? How can they overcome their differences?
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Useful entry in a series of 'dilemma' stories
Not by myself, but if my son wanted to I would listen along with him and ask him questions about it.
A good context for the 'moral lesson' of the story
There wasn't one that stood out.
It was short, and I almost did manage in one sitting.
Part of the 'Billy' series for upper primary students, each with a useful life lesson to teach in the context of a 10 year old boy's life, his family, school friends and hobbies.
In this second book, Billy is developing an interest in skateboarding, and because he's older than his friend Ant (who isn't 10 for a few more months), he starts acting superior and the two fall out. As he's about to apologise, he sees Ant with a 'new' best friend and in a fit of wounded pride, tries to make friends with older boys by saying he might steal some skateboard parts in order to earn his own board.
I read this via Audible, on audiobook, and found the story worked well in this format, listening along. I had found with the two others in the series I'd read that they were slightly hard to read aloud, quite wordy, and my six year old wasn't too interested. It's definitely a little old for him, but I enjoyed this volume, the lesson and the way it was taught.
The bully from the first book returns, as do the good role models in Billy's parents and Granddad, who help him learn lessons about pride and friendship.
Not being the target age market, I am still unsure if the characters' language is modelled well on how children speak to each other, I'd want to see readers' opinions on that: for me it's not always a realistic portrayal of how young people talk to each other. But the friendship between Billy and Ant is well-drawn, and the problems described here are fairly common ones that children have to contend with.
I always like seeing the notes at the end by the author, and think this would be very useful in a classroom context, with KS2 students, aged around 9-11, to form the basis for PSHE discussions.
While the narrator (Lola-Rose Maxwell) reads the characters clearly and well, I wasn't sure why a female voice had been chosen, when every character (bar Billy's mum) is male. I would have thought a male voice more generally applicable. Though she reads it well with distinct voices for each character.
With thanks to the author for the sample reading copy.
- K. J. Noyes