Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Billie Templar's War by Ellie Irving (Children's, 9 years +, 9/10E)

June 7th 2012, The Bodley Head
362 pages, Hardback
Review copy

Themes: military family life, coping with injured soldiers in the family, child neglect, bullying, making friends with unexpected people, volunteering at a care home, being reknown at school for crazy acts, mountains of ideas & enthusiasm, creative ways to make money, reality of impromptu jumble sales, neighbours coming together as a community, old rooted prejudice, patriotism, Queen's jubilee celebration, lots of sneaking about, some lying, some misbehaving, a tissue or so is needed

Summary from Random House Children's Publishing
Billie Templar desperately wants her dad to come home. He's a soldier and has been away for seven weeks, fighting for 'Queen and country' - but how can the two of them possibly defend their four-year record of winning the three-legged race at the school carnival if he's thousands of miles away?

Then, when one of the other soldiers in Dad's regiment is seriously hurt, the stakes get even higher. Billie needs her dad home, sharpish. There's only one person who can help - Her Majesty. She's in charge of the army, right? She can send Dad home! Billie tries to get inside Buckingham Palace to sort it out, but it's not that easy. So, with the help of shy Sarah and allergy-prone Jake, the school brass band and a motley team of enthusastic old-age pensioners, Billie hatches a fool-proof plan to get the Queen to her little village instead...

Nayuleska's thoughts
I love crazy schemes because they always make me laugh, and Billie's tale is no exception. It's sweet how easy she thinks it is for her dad to come home. I give her a lot of credit for the ideas she not only comes up with but does everything in her power to make them happen - so much so she gets in trouble with the police. I liked how she got to know classmates who were usually ignored because they were a little odd. Billie learnt that it's not always a person's fault if their family neglects them. As a result of that Billie does several acts of kindness which made me tear up. I like evenn with her craziness she wins over some of the care home's residents, and how she realises who is most like a mother to her.

What I wasn't so keen on which is reflected in the 9/10 rating is the end. I wanted the opposite to happen. I can see why the end was the way it was, but it made the book feel unrealistic for me. I was looking forward to Billie having the opposite ending, because she would have learnt a lot more than she dis by what actually happened.

You can find out more on Ellie's website.

Suggested reading
Another book of Ellie's books is the funny For the Record (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

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