Billy's Bucket

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Overview

A fantastical birthday story reminds us never to underestimate the power of an empty bucket - or a child’s imagination!

Billy’s birthday is coming, and there’s only one thing he wants. It’s not a computer game, or new sneakers, or a shiny new bike - it’s a bucket, and just one special bucket will do. Billy knows it when he sees it, and sure enough, when he fills it with water, he discovers a magnificent world of sea creatures inside! "You must never ever borrow my bucket," Billy...

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Overview

A fantastical birthday story reminds us never to underestimate the power of an empty bucket - or a child’s imagination!

Billy’s birthday is coming, and there’s only one thing he wants. It’s not a computer game, or new sneakers, or a shiny new bike - it’s a bucket, and just one special bucket will do. Billy knows it when he sees it, and sure enough, when he fills it with water, he discovers a magnificent world of sea creatures inside! "You must never ever borrow my bucket," Billy warns his mom and dad. But do they listen? Children will cheer - and parents take heed - at this magical tale of a very determined boy who knows what he wants and has the faith and creativity to get it.

Billy's birthday is coming, and there's only one thing he wants--it's a bucket, and just one special bucket will do. Children will cheer--and parents take heed--at this magical tale of a very determined boy who knows what he wants and has the faith and creativity to get it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
All Billy wants for his birthday is a bucket. After a trip to Buckets R Us, ("That's the one I want... 19 shelves up, 78 across from the left!"), Billy fills his pail with water; inside he spies sharks, mermaids and divers. Parsons's (Digging for Dinosaurs) spunky stylized acrylics let Billy's visions appear to the audience, but not to Billy's slightly smug parents. Their condescending winks and teasing garner readers' sympathy for Billy. Vindication is inevitable: even though Billy vehemently warns his parents not to use his bucket, his dad borrows it to wash the car-and finds his car flattened by a grinning, mammoth whale. "It took Billy's mom and dad six hours, three fire engines, four cranes, and a shoehorn to get the whale back into the bucket. They never ever borrowed Billy's bucket again." Gray (Eat Your Peas) builds the story's tension skillfully, letting his relatively straightfaced delivery counterpoint the rib-tickling exaggeration found in the zany paintings. The illustrator contrasts Billy's bounteous underwater world with the parents' minimalist living room. Tilting lamps, distorted perspectives and a mix of objects fully rendered and others merely suggested, clearly announce that the boring old rules of physics do not apply. Imaginative youngsters will find kinship here, and cheer the parents' comical comeuppance. Ages 3-6. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Billy wants a bucket for his birthday. His parents try to persuade him to ask for something else but he is determined about his choice. He knows the right bucket when he sees it. What he sees inside! It is the best present in the world. He tells the family never to use the bucket. But by the time he found his Dad who had borrowed the bucket to wash his car, it was too late. It took Billy's mom and dad six hours, three fire engines, four cranes, and a shoehorn to get the whale back into the bucket. They never ever borrowed Billy's bucket again. This is book that lets kids imaginations run free; and it has a brightly colored, and fairly easy text. The change in text size is exciting. The expressions on the people's faces and those of the sea creatures are funny and add to the enjoyment of the book. The cover will catch child and adult attention when browsing or choosing books. The book lends itself to the beginning readers, and is also a fun read-aloud. Kids will want to read other books by the same author and also other books illustrated by Garry Parsons. 2003, Candlewick Press,
— Naomi Butler
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Billy wants a bucket for his birthday and, deflecting his parents' offers of a bike or computer, selects the perfect one from "Buckets R Us." When he fills it with water and peeks in, he is amazed to see a host of underwater flora and fauna as well as a submarine and scuba divers-all to his father's and mother's winking amusement. Before his bedtime, they teasingly ask if they may borrow his toy, and the child insists that they "must never ever ever" do so. The next morning, he finds that his dad has taken the bucket to wash the car and emptied the water-and a whale-into the street. This tribute to the power of imagination is rhythmically told with a broad sense of exaggeration in both text and art. Billy's insistence on the plainest of gifts reflects the real-life whims of ordinary children; the bottom-of-the-bucket eye view of the action will tickle their fancies, and they will appreciate the struggles of a child trying to convince a parent of an "imaginary" occurrence. The playful, acrylic cartoon illustrations feature bold lines and perspectives and are barely contained on the pages. This whale of a tale will find a ready audience of bucketeers whether shared one-on-one or in a group.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An imaginative boy gets a bucket for his birthday, and when he fills it with water, a deep sea-world emerges. "I can see a rock pool with crabs and seaweed and little shrimpy things," he reports. "Of course you can, Billy," says his father. The back and forth banter-boy says he sees ocean creatures, parents wink and nod-gets old in a hurry. Their incessant chiding is just plain mean. But using the boy's bucket without permission is beyond the pale. Brightly colored illustrations that use striking perspectives help to give visual appeal, but sometimes only create confusion. The way Gray sets it up, Billy is supposed to have the last laugh, though by this point in the story readers will probably just be annoyed. Disappointing. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763621278
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/20/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.75 (w) x 10.69 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Kes Gray is the author of several children’s books. His debut title, EAT YOUR PEAS, was selected as the overall winner of the 2001 Children’s Book Award in England (beating out Harry Potter!). He lives in England and works in advertising as a senior copywriter. This is his first book with Candlewick Press.

Garry Parsons is a talented new illustrator who studied fine art and illustration at Brighton College in England. This is his first book with Candlewick Press

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2006

    This book is Wonderful

    This book is so imaginative, it is my 4 year old's favorite book, it really helps children to realize their imaginations can create a Whole New World, and that parents sometimes just don't understand.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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