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Publisher's Summary

Billy Has a Birthday is the first volume in the Billy Growing Up series. The story follows Billy, a young boy who turns 10 on the tenth October - 10, 10, 10 - a once in a lifetime occasion. Billy's excitement at his 'big' birthday perfectly captures that of a child who is bordering on adolescence - each birthday seems so much more important than the last, and the move from single to double figures is one of the greatest of all.
On Billy's birthday, he is over the moon to be given a £20 note by his granddad. No more silly children's toys, he can finally buy what he wants. At the age of 10 this seems like a huge amount of money - more than Billy has ever owned. Things take an unpleasant turn when the local bully hears about Billy's birthday present, and forces him to give it up - or else. Billy, like many other children his age, agrees to the bully's demands.
Billy is devastated to have lost his special birthday present, but he attempts to keep the situation a secret from his mum and granddad. He has nothing to be ashamed of, but has convinced himself that the adults in his life will be cross if they find out what has happened. Like many bullied children he feels he cannot turn to anyone for help. Fortunately, luck is on Billy's side, and his best friend's little sister finds out about the bully and tells Billy's granddad. Together they are able to hatch a plan to get the note back and to ensure the bully gets what's coming to him!
Billy Has a Birthday is a wonderful example of a story that young children can enjoy listening to together with their parents. Using traditional storytelling, it is entertaining while dealing with a serious issue that affect many children as they grow up. Bullying can be a difficult subject for children to talk about, and many feel frightened or embarrassed if they fall victim to bullying. This book acts as the perfect icebreaker for adults and children to begin discussing these issues.
The message in the book is clear - you can't rid the world of bullies but you can do something about how you deal with them.
©2014 James Minter (P)2016 James Minter
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By AudioBook Reviewer on 12-27-17

This story is really about bullying

A boy on his 10th birthday surrounded by family, friends, his dog Jacko, and presents! What could be better? Nothing! So it's a total bummer when the neighborhood bully, Eddie, takes Billy's special gift of $20 that he just received from his grandad. This story is really about bullying and not so much about birthday parties or turning 10 years old.

The story starts off light and fun with the birthday party and his grandad playing the part of a magician named The Great Magisco! Max, the sister of Billy's best friend Ant, plays Magisco's assistant. All the kids enjoy the magic show and afterward, Billy and Ant go for a bike ride. That's when Eddie and his buddies make an appearance. Eddie uses the pretext of not having been invited to bully the money out of Billy.

I really like that things get a little complicated here as that's how real life often is. Billy is embarrassed and not sure if his mom and grandad will be angry with him. Luckily someone else knows about this and comes up with a plan to trick Eddie out of his ill-gotten gains. There was none of this 'Stand tall and stand up to that bully!' stuff that always sounds so good in fiction but can well end up with blood and broken bones in real life.

The ending had a nice chat between Billy and his grandad and mom where the importance of involving those who can help is brought up. Billy goes on to have a great birthday while Eddie and his parents have a chat with authorities. After the tale is over, there's a little bit about why the author chose to shape the story the way he did. I think this is a good conversation starter for parents who want to chat with their kids about bullying.

The Narration: Lola-Rose Maxwell is very pleasant to listen to. Since this story is told in the 3rd person, it worked just fine having a female narrator for a male-lead story. She kept kids and adults distinct but not all character voices had their own flair. For instance, I was expecting grandad to sound old but he didn't particularly. I also expected Max to sound more like a little girl kid but she sounded like a tween or teen. Maxwell did a great job of being part of the story, imbuing each character with emotion. Her pacing was spot on. There were no technical issues with the recording.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Mary Karowski on 06-12-16

One of the best messages for kids today

The message here is a great one. With all the bullying issues that even my own kids have had to deal with the message here I just spit on. My youngest son really enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job. Optimum listening speed 1.25x. Will look for the rest of the series as it comes out. I received this audiobook from the author narrator or publisher for free via audiobookboom in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By christopher hogg on 06-17-16

Great story!

What did you like most about Billy Has a Birthday?

This book was great and much appreciated in our family house! It was very fun.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I don't think I could.

What does Lola-Rose Maxwell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narration was brilliant; I like Lola-Rose Maxwell's voice a lot. She sounds really sweet and yet dependable and was able to make this serious subject with all its difficult layers very accessible to my kids. She's clearly had a lot of acting experience.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

We giggled and I also thought it dealt with the subject of bullying in a deep and sensible way.

Any additional comments?

It was thought-provoking and we liked it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ryan A. on 09-25-16

Enjoyable book for adults and children

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes. We have been reading this before bedtime every night, which my son now looks forward too. He has never been one for reading, but he loves following along to the narration.

What about Lola-Rose Maxwell’s performance did you like?

Was clear and easy to listen to.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It did make my son laugh.

Any additional comments?

Definitely be getting more of the Billy Growing up audible books.

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