Billy Miller Makes a Wish

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-304279-7
In this short, well-paced follow-up to Newbery Honoree Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller, the rising third grader, celebrating his eighth birthday as summer begins, wishes that “something exciting would happen.” When an ambulance arrives moments later and his elderly neighbor dies shortly after that, Billy, distraught, is sure that his wish is the cause. As summer progresses, further excitement ensues—a bat in the basement, a fire in the chimney, and an unfortunate permanent marker mishap involving Billy’s rambunctious little sister, Sal—and Billy worries that he is somehow to blame. Filled with Billy’s observations (“He thought that teachers weren’t regular people. They were in a different category—like doctors or presidents”) and Sal’s exploits (such as delivering her parents’ love letters to every mailbox in the neighborhood), Henkes’s sequel offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of kid life: Billy’s first encounter with death, the frustration and embarrassment he feels courtesy of a sibling, and the joy of summer experiences such as air conditioning on a hot day and getting to order from the pool’s snack bar. Henkes captures the warmth of Billy’s family, which is white, as well as his guileless voice as he navigates common trials and tribulations of childhood. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/18/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-06-304281-0
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