Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Silly Billy (a picture book and a fun activity)

Silly Billy

Written and Illustrated by: Anthony Browne
Recommended Ages: 4-7

When I was at the library, I came upon this picture book about a little boy who worries about everything. Being from a long line of worriers myself, I was intrigued and won over by this simple story.

Billy is a little boy who worries about all sorts of things when he is in bed. He worries about things like hats and rain and giant birds. His parents try to reassure him that they are there and nothing will happen to him. But Billy still worries.

One night, when he is spending the night at his grandmother's house (and worrying about staying at other people's houses), he goes to his grandmother's room and tells her his concerns. Grandma understands completely, as she used to be a worrier like him. But she has a solution. She goes into her room and brings out some worry dolls. She explains that you put them under your pillow and they do the worrying for you while you sleep. Billy takes the dolls and puts them under his pillow, and finds out they work well.

There's a small twist at the end of the story, which I won't spoil here. But it's clever and fits neatly into Billy's personality. There's also a note at the end that describes the origins of Guatemalan worry dolls.

BookNosher Activity: Children may want to make their own worry dolls after reading Silly Billy. Luckily there are a couple of websites that offer easy step-by-step instructions for making worry dolls. This is a fun summertime activity for kids to engage in.

Toothpick dolls

Clothespin dolls (This is a little more elaborate, definitely needs parental assistance)

Garbage bag tie dolls (I like how this is made with mostly scraps from around the house.)

BookNosher Tidbit: If you and your child become intrigued with the legend of the Guatemalan worry dolls, here are a couple of books to check out. Let Your Worries Go
by Jessica Hurley and Trouble Dolls: A Guatemalan Legend by Suzanne Simons both explore in depth the origins and story behind the worry dolls.


Pragmatic Mom said...

I love picture books too!

I wanted to share my favorite picture book list with you from my blog at

It's Favorite Picture Books that You've Never Heard of.

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on children's lit, education and parenting

Robin Gaphni said...

Thanks for the link. You've got a great list of picture books (and I agree, they are not just for young children!)