cover image Billy’s Booger

Billy’s Booger

William Joyce. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7351-5

Joyce’s recreation of an episode from his own childhood bursts with energy and warmth. Eccentric fourth-grader Billy is obsessed with the Sunday funnies, which Joyce (the Guardians of Childhood series) spoofs lovingly, and he’s thrilled about a children’s book–writing contest at school (“Billy’s brain was about to explode!”). His entry, Billy’s Booger, is included as an insert, and it’s a dead-on rendition of grade-school storytelling, complete with faux manila paper. In it, the small green product of a sneeze brings Billy such amazing math superpowers that the president appeals to him for aid: “Can you help me? I’ve got to know how many candy bars we need to give to all the kids of the US of A?” Billy’s shaky grammar and spelling keep him out of the winner’s circle, and he’s disconsolate until the librarian tells him that his book has been checked out more than any of the winners. Discovering that his wild imaginings please his peers sets Billy on the road to a career in books, and there isn’t a reader who won’t share his elation. Ages 4–8. Agent: Michael Siegel, Michael Siegel & Associates. (June)