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Billy's Bucket - Kes Gray

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4 Reviews

Genre: Junior Books / Author: Kes Gray / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 29 Pages / Book is published 2004-06-03 by Red Fox

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    4 Reviews
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      18.07.2011 12:14
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      Kes Gray and Garry Parsons have worked extremely well together to create this wonderful story!

      Billy's Bucket is a children's book written by Kes Gray and illustrated by Garry Parsons. It tells the story of a little boy called Billy, and his wild imagination.

      I bought this book last November in a little 'Bits and bob's' shop that were selling children's books for a mere £1. The book is however retailed at £5.99.

      Each page is beautifully illustrated in bright bold colours, the whole page covered with images, and the words (story) printed on top of the pictures. Not a space is wasted.

      The book is a paperback style. The pages are not numbered, but there are 13 pages of the actual story to turn over. I think this is a nice size for young children that cannot sit still for too long. I would say this book is suitable for children aged 3-7.

      The front of the book informs me that Billy's Bucket is 'Winner of the children's book award'. I think this is rather reassuring as to the quality of the book.

      The story-

      The book tells the story of a little boy 'Billy', who tells his parents that he would like a bucket for his birthday. He dismisses his parents suggestions of other, bigger presents such as a computer game or a bike, and sticks firmly to his desire for a bucket!
      His parents cave in and decide to buy him his much desired bucket. They take him on a shopping trip to 'Buckets R Us' and let him choose his perfect bucket. Billy isn't sure exactly what bucket he would like, but says he will know when he sees it.
      He finally finds the perfect yellow bucket at the very top of the shelves. He claims that it is a very special bucket, unlike the other ones. Once home Billy fills his bucket with water and excitedly peers inside.
      Billy claims to be able to see many things inside his bucket, including a shark, two submarines and seven sea lions.
      His parents smile at each-other and jeer Billy along, asking 'Billy, what can you see in your bucket now?' They then ask if they can borrow his bucket to water the plants, or wash the car, to which Billy firmly replies 'NO! You must NEVER EVER borrow my bucket'.

      I will stop there, as I don't want to ruin the end of the story!

      All I will say is that there is a rather unexpected twist at the end of the book. Was Billy really just imagining the sea creatures? Or were they real all along?

      My children's reaction to the book-

      The book proved to be too long for my two year old who would only sit through the first few pages, before wandering off to play with his toys. My 4 year old son however really enjoyed this book, and sat and listened patiently throughout. He became quite involved in the story. When Billy was choosing his bucket, my son was pointing out his favourite bucket, aswell as showing me which bucket I liked. He was also able to point at the pictures and 'name' some of the animals to me, such as shark and whale. He also learned some new words, such as pilchard and string ray.

      My son added his thoughts to the book, when the shop assistant was climbing the ladder, he said that she needed to be careful. And when Billy filled his bucket with water, my son said 'don't spill it'!

      My son wasn't the only one that enjoyed this book! I found myself intrigued by the story, and found myself laughing alongside Billy's parents, as Billy kept telling them what he could see inside his bucket.

      I really like the style of the writing, which contains lots of narrative speech. This enables me to be more expressive with my reading, which is more interesting for my child to listen to. I also like the creative way the writing is presented on some pages, with swirly circles and spirals of words. It is not only visually interesting but also more exciting to read.

      Kes Gray has created a wonderful imaginative story, in a nice simple format that both children and parents will love! This book has by far become the favourite book in our household. I would be quite happy to read this book again and again!


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        29.12.2009 08:19



        One book I definately think should be on every bookshelf.

        Billy's bucket is one of my all time favourite books.

        All Billy wants for his birthday is a bucket and although his mum and dad are sceptical off they go to buckets are us to buy that bucket that billy so dearly wants.

        When they get home Billy spends ages looking into his bucket for he can see all sorts of sealife in there. His mum and dad do not beleive and try to wind him up about them using his bucket to which Billys say's they must never use his bucket. Unfortunately dad doesn't listen and when Billy wakes the next morning he finds dad has used his bucket to wash his car with suprising results!!

        This is one of those story books that I will happily read over and over again to my children. They love the story just as much as I do and it holds their attention every time.


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        31.05.2009 23:06
        Very helpful



        a fuuny tale of a child's imagination, with a great twist.

        Billy's Bucket is one of my all-time favourite children's books, about how children are the best & have amazing imaginations, & grown-ups are rubbish & small minded.

        Billy wants a bucket for his birthday. His parents are doubtful ("nobody has buckets for their birthday") but Billy is determined. So they go to the fabulous Buckets "R" Us, a vast store stacked to the ceiling with buckets. All the buckets look the same to us but, gloriously, Billy sees the exact one he wants: "right up there - 19 shelves up, 78 along from the left."

        Back at home, when Billy fills his bucket with water he can see all kinds of astonishing rock pools & sea life, & even submarines & scuba divers swimming in it. We can see them too, & they're gorgeously painted. His parents sneer & say, "of course you can, Billy," but Billy's not bothered. He just tells them never ever ever to borrow his bucket, but they laugh, & we know it's going to end badly for them.

        Next morning - disaster! - the bucket's gone. Billy rushes outside to find Dad using it to water the car. He's just thrown a bucketful of water on the car - & there's a vast whale, crushing Dad's car & dripping seawater. It's just a fantastic picture, so unexpected, with this huge, solid whale taking up a big double page, & lots of stunned little people gawping at it. ' "I told you not to borrow my bucket," said Billy.'

        I love the way the adults are so utterly wrong throughout this book. It's so cleverly done: the parents just see their boy looking into a bucket, but we see Billy as from the bottom of the ocean, with amazing creatures swimming all round, & Billy's little face peering in through the top of the bucket as if through an observation window. And yet we still assume that what we see on the page is a portrayal of Billy's imagination: when the massive whale plops out of that tiny bucket & crushes Dad's car it's totally unexpected: a stroke of genius.

        I love it that Billy's never a know-it-all, never argues; he's just politely determined & quietly self-assured, while the adults make fools of themselves. Luckily his parents learn their lesson, & on a wonderful last page we see the three of them happily peering into Billy's bucket, watching the stunning creatures swimming by.

        I also like it that Billy doesn't dive in & have all manner of adventures in his bucket. He's having the best time ever just looking at stuff & taking it all in, instead of being some action hero. There's something really winning about a child getting maximum enjoyment from looking into a bucket for hours.

        This is a bright, beautifully-illustrated book, with a small amount of simple text on each page but intelligent enough to be suitable for a wide range of ages. A delight.


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        09.07.2008 15:16
        Very helpful



        A great first book which will quickly become a favourite

        Billy's bucket is a book full of suprises. Written by award winning author Kes Gray for Eat your peas ( a daisy book ) this is a beautifully written tale of a boys wish for a bucket for his birthday. Billy's parents quite rightly so are suprised at his request for a bucket. They try to persuade him otherwise but, to no avail. Billy has made up his mind, he would much rather have a bucket for his birthday than a new computer game or a new bike or some new trainers.
        Billy and his parents set of to the bucket store aptly named buckets 'R' US. The store has as you would imagine brightly coloured buckets for all occassions. There are metal buckets,
        builders buckets, seaside buckets you name it there is a bucket for it. Billy after trudging up and down every aisle decides upon a bucket, a yellow bucket, several shelves up and out of his reach his parents enlist the help of the shop assistant.
        Billy is very excited about the prospect of using his bucket once home and as soon as they arrive back home he immediately fills it up with water in the kitchen sink. Billy ofcourse believes that his bucket is special, very special indeed. Infact, Billy believes he can see whatever he wants to see in his bucket. Billy's parents ofcourse are bemused by this and dismiss his claims putting it down to his imagination. Billy claims all sorts of wild and amusing things are appearing in his bucket, two submarines and a pilchard for one, but the best thing of all is when his father asks Billy if he can borrow his bucket to wash his car.
        Billy ofcourse refuses, you must never ever borrow my bucket says Billy, repeating it with more emphasis before declaring it to be his best birthday present ever and goes of up to bed.
        The next day however Billy is quite distressed to find his bucket is not where he left it. Billy's dad had borrowed Billy's bucket and instead of water being the only thing to come out of the bucket ... out popped a whale!! Billy ofcourse bemused by the irony of it all says to his father I told you not to borrow my
        bucket. The story continues with Billy's mum and dad having to use three fire engines, four cranes and a shoe horn to get the whale back into the bucket.
        A brilliant funny story in which from a child's perspective is not the one at fault, it is Billy's dad who disbelieves his son and goes against his wishes and uses his bucket with disasterous consequences, ending with Billy being the one to say I told you

        The new British illustrator Gary pearsons, has cleverly illustrated his parents shock and horror at their sons wish for a bucket for his birthday, right through to the end with the whale on the pavement. Throughout the book the brightly coloured pictures tell the story on its own which is great for children who have yet to learn to read.
        I bought this book for christmas shortly after its release in 2003 for my twin girls who already by the age of three had a great deal of enthusiasm for books even though they were unable to read. This quickly became a bedtime favourite and even now at the age of seven both girls still choose this favourite of theirs time and time again. They can both now read, one more fluently than the other so one will help the other on words they cannot yet understand.

        Children can learn to read before they start school and I believe I helped my girls by buying them a variety of books at a young age. Because this book was so easy to enjoy, with the great story and great illustrations it becomes a delight not only for the child but the parent to read. Definately one for the bookcase and I would reccomend it to children under the age of eight.

        Where to buy;

        Currently you can purchase this book from all good book stores but on Amazon.co.uk you can buy the hardback copy which I have for £7.14 and the paperback copy for £4.49 Incidentally inside the cover of the book it does have its reccommended retail price of £10.99 so I think whether you choose hardback or paperback its a good buy.

        Page wise there are 26 pages in all, even though the end of the story does continue into the back cover of the book. I think this is just the right amount for a bed time story, it keeps the child interested and does not lose their attention, something a small child often does!!


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