2 out of 4 stars
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Billy Amigo & Lil’ Willy Wiggle by L. G. Ingle is a picturesque and colorful story about a little boy and his new best friend, Willy Wiggle.
Young Billy Amigo befriends a slippery earthworm that he finds inside his shoe. Billy decides to take his pet worm, Willy Wiggle, on a fishing trip. With teamwork, they hope to reel in a big one. Thankfully, Willy knows a few tricks to help his humanoid friend lure a fish. But, will Willy Wiggle get eaten? After all, worms are a delicacy for aquatic vertebrates. Can Billy Amigo save his friend on time?
This enjoyable book was short, taking only a few minutes to read. Regardless, the lexical level is perfect for a guided-reading. It is particularly suitable for younger students who may need recovery reading during the summer vacation. The words contain short syllables, making them easy to enunciate; their repetition provides opportunities for extra practice. However, Ingle’s end rhymes are the most desirable literary tool this picture book offers, making it a key positive aspect. Although simple, they have a skippy melodic tune.
Ingle’s illustrations are also another highlight of this book. I grew up watching old cartoons, such as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. Billy Amigo has some of their qualities: outlandish facial expressions and vibrant colors. Even Billy’s freckles added to this nostalgia. I think Ingle did a commendable job on his artwork, which was a favorite of mine.
As a whole, the plotline has a strong friendship theme: Billy and Willy share a meal, which shows compassion. It was slightly comedic, barring the depictions of physical violence: I was disappointed by the pushing and slamming in this friendship tale. Those moments were antagonistic to the overall theme and contained a degree of bullying. Adding to that, the shiner drawn on the story character was a clumsy move.
After deliberating, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. There is work to be done on the editing; therefore, I can’t claim that it was professionally edited. Also, the mixture of physical violence and the peace signs conflicting, leading me to remove a second star. However, I held back from any further deduction because of the enthusiasm for outdoor activities brought on by this tale.
I do not recommend it as a classroom library book. Presumably, teachers will have to explain their choice to many unsettled parents. I recommend that parents check out this book beforehand. They are in a better position to decide if they want to pass it to their younger readers.
Billy Amigo & Little Willy Wiggle
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