By: Barry Falls
Published: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Pavilion Children’s Books
Billy McGill lives on the very top of a hill and he likes it that way. Below him is the hustle and bustle of the city. Oh, and people too. Billy McGill likes to be ALONE at the top of his hill. Until one day, he heard a sound and looked all over and found a mouse.
Billy had no interest in sharing his quiet, private space with a mouse. So off he went to town to get a cat. But, the mouse and cat became friends and caused more noise. So then he went to town to get a dog, but the dog joined the cat and the mouse in their game. So, then he got a bear from the zoo to scare the dog and the cat and the mouse. But, that didn’t work either.
Billy, eventually has a whole menagerie of animals and people in his tiny house at the top of the hill and nothing is quiet or peaceful anymore. Billy becomes very upset and leaves his house for a different hill, without a house, to sit and be on his own. But, as the evening wore on, Billy began to miss the mouse, the cat, the dog, the bear, and everyone else who was in his house. Billy decides he maybe doesn’t want to be alone anymore and comes up with a plan to be alone and still spend time with his friends.
I think this is an excellent story for those kids who have difficulty making friends or for those that don’t like noisy, chaotic playdates at the park or a friend’s house. This book will resonate with their feelings of wanting to read a book instead of playing with a friend or just playing with one friend instead of three. I also love that Billy McGill has red hair. Not many red-haired characters are featured in books. I have two red-headed nieces so I notice these things. All in all, the illustrations are fun, the story is silly but filled with an important message of staying true to yourself but yet being open to new experiences that might lead to something better.
Barry Falls is an author and illustrator, living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has won multiple awards, and lectures in illustration at Ulster University. ALONE! is his second picture book. For more information, check out his website, HERE.