By Author / Illustrator
Friends and family
Penguin Random House Children's UK
Billie Templar desperately wants her dad to come home. He's a soldier and has been away for seven weeks, fighting for 'Queen and country' - but how can the two of them possibly defend their four-year record of winning the three-legged race at the school carnival if he's thousands of miles away? Then, when one of the other soldiers in Dad's regiment is seriously hurt, the stakes get even higher. Billie needs her dad home, sharpish. There's only one person who can help - Her Majesty. She's in charge of the army, right? She can send Dad home! Billie tries to get inside Buckingham Palace to sort it out, but it's not that easy. So, with the help of shy Sarah and allergy-prone Jake, the school brass band and a motley team of enthusiastic old-age pensioners, Billie hatches a fool-proof plan to get the Queen to her little village instead...Both laugh-out-loud funny and utterly heart-wrenching, and featuring an unforgettable cast of sweet, crazy characters, Billie's journey will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book: heart-warming and funny from start to finish and very easy to read. Billie Templar is a misunderstood 10 year old who lives with her Aunt and older brother in a military town called Merchant Stanton. Her Dad is fighting on the front line in Afghanistan and Billie wants to bring her Dad home from the war in time from him to compete with her in the parent/child three-legged race at her school sports day and to be crowned Carnival King. In order for her to get her Dad sent home, Billie realises that she needs help from someone very important and sets about organising her village to host a Military Tattoo for the Queen's Jubilee in the hope that the Queen will come and visit Merchant Stanton and release her Dad from his duties in Afghanistan. It proves to be more difficult than she realised. Can she pull it off? This was a great book - really appealing to both girls and boys aged eight and over. The central character, Billie, is very outspoken and has a determination to get what she wants which made her very endearing and likeable. The more you read the more you empathise with Billie's situation and really want her to succeed in her endeavours. The book would lend itself to both an individual read and as a class read, particularly tying in with topics to do with War. I enjoyed how up-to-date the story was and felt it was a great insight into the thoughts and feelings of children whose family members are away fighting in different countries and the reality that they face. There are also important messages throughout the story in terms of friendship, not judging people on first impressions and that sometimes in life you can't always get what you want. Ages: 8 years plus Pages: 360 Reviewed by Sophie Jowett, Primary teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+