by Kevin Henkes
First sentence: “It was the first day of second grade and Billy Miller was worried.”
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Content: None. It’s currently in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore, but after finishing it, I’m wondering if I should move it to the beginning chapter books section. Since Billy’s a second grader and the type is pretty large and the words pretty simple.
Billy Miller is in second grade. That’s a Big Deal. He’s never done that before. And he’s not sure he can. Especially since the first day of school — with his very kind, and probably unrealistically good teacher, Ms. Silver — gets off to a bad start.
But, as the book unfolds in a series of short vignettes, each focusing on a different member of Billy’s family and in a different season, we find that Billy has ways of dealing with each and every challenge that comes his way.
It’s a very sweet little book. Simplistic, sure — there’s a girl, Emma, in Billy’s class that isn’t very nice, but instead of dealing with (or expanding) the problem, Henkes just kind of glosses over it — and without much conflict. But that doesn’t stop it from being sweet and charming. But really, that’s all it is.
Which isn’t a bad thing.