Billy Miller Makes a Wish

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Apr. 2021. 192p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063042797.
Gr 3 Up–Billy Miller is back with all-new everyday adventures. As he blows out the candles on his eighth birthday cake, he makes a wish for something exciting to happen. Seconds later an ambulance with sirens blazing races past his house for the first time ever and Billy begins to wonder if he should have made a different wish. It doesn’t stop there; in his first week as an eight-year-old, Billy, who is white, encounters a bat, a letter fiasco, even a house fire, not to mention old grandchildren and some not-so-permanent tattoos. This standalone sequel to The Year of Billy Miller contains simple black-and-white illustrations and is somewhat shorter than the inaugural volume. Billy’s tight-knit family and neighborhood set the stage for adventures such as the embarrassment of seeing your teacher in the grocery section or impressing your friends by having been “in the house of a dead person.” Henkes’s phenomenal ability to tap directly into the hopes, fears, and annoyances of an eight-year-old boy with beautiful clarity make this not only relatable for young readers, but for adults as well.
VERDICT Reminiscent of Pennypacker’s Clementineseries, or Beverly Cleary’s Ramonabooks, Billy Miller and the laugh-out-loud antics of his little sister Sal make this a darling addition to early middle grade collections for most libraries.

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