Billy and the Dragon

Billy and the Dragon
Nadia Shireen
Jonathan Cape

One of my favourite picture book characters from last year, Billy, and her sidekick Fatcat, return for another action-packed adventure.

It all begins with the two setting out to a fancy dress party, Fatcat rather more reluctantly, but fuelled by the promise of cake.

On arrival Billy greets their friends while Fatcat heads straight for the food. He doesn’t quite make it though for he’s seized by enormous claws and whisked skywards.

After a quick rummage around in her hair Billy produces a telescope that she uses to locate Fatcat’s whereabouts

and operation ‘save Fatcat’ commences.

Billy, the mice, the little bunny rabbits, Fox and Hedgehog (less enthusiastically) head for the Deep Dark Forest. How on earth (or sky) is Billy going to get herself up the massive tree wherein Fatcat has been plonked?

Happily Hedgehog has come with some of the party stuff. But a fiery roar from the fearsome dragon kidnapper puts paid to her first attempt and then the catnapper takes to the air again, coming to land in an even more terrifying spot.

So terrifying in fact that only Billy continues on the perilous journey during which she comes upon and ‘rescues’ a scaly little creature that she takes along with her.

This might just be the wisest move she’s made, for eventually this is the sight that meets her eyes …

Once again, Nadia’s perfectly paced story is a winner; it’s full of moments to savour and the drama is brought out so brilliantly in her smashing scenes of the chief protagonist and her supporting animal cast. (Watch out for the worm.)

Bring on the next one.

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