Billie's great desert adventure by Sally Rippin
Ill. by Alisa Coburn. Billie's Super Dooper Adventures
series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781760124434
(Age: 5-7) Recommended for fans of the Billie B series and as an introduction to the characters for younger children. In this picture book Billie is having a rainy day at kindergarten. Even though Billie has her duck boots on it is too wet to play outside so she makes herself a cave in the cushions and when her friend Jack comes along they go off on a wonderful adventure, finding a treasure cave and being chased by forty thieves with swords.
This would be a great read aloud for young children and a stirring book for those who are just becoming independent readers but who still like a picture book to read. Billie and Jack have an exciting time finding treasure, learning a magic word to open a stone wall and flying off on a magic carpet, while finding a way to stop the thieves from chasing them. After reading the book, an adult could then go on to read the original Ali Barber and the forty thieves classic and discuss how the author has used this as a basis for Billie's great desert adventure.
The illustrations by Coburn, with the vivid expressive faces on Billie and Jack and the forty thieves, complement the story. Children will enjoy noticing small details like duck heads on an umbrella and how the children's clothes change when they go into the cave and will recognise many familiar things in the kindergarten.
This is a lovely celebration of the power of the imagination and the way that stories can stimulate children's play.