Written by Kirsty Murray and illustrated by Karen Blair
Recommended for ages 3-6 years
Billy loves dogs, especially Fluff from next door, Mrs Banerjee’s dog. He asks, even begs his parents to get a dog of his own but his parents explain to Billy that looking after a dog is a very big responsibility and that Billy would have to walk it every day, and clean up after its messes. Billy promises that he can do it, but his dad says “Maybe when you’re older”.
Billy decides to take matters into his own paws...yes Billy decides to pretend to be a dog...even when they visit the park, and especially when they visit Mrs Banerjee’s next door. Billy even digs with Fluff and curls up in his bed with him...until something is wrong with Fluff...she starts making funny noises, and Mrs Banerjee tells Billy it’s time he went home.
Billy is so worried about Fluff that night,that he forgets about being a dog. When he visits Fluff the next day, there is a big surprise!!
This beautiful story reminds us of the deep connection that small children can feel for animals, it also reminds us to use our imagination!
Do you have a pet at home? How do you help look after it?
Kirsty Murray’s inspiration for this picture book was her own son Billy:
‘When my son, Billy, was a small boy he longed for a dog. When I said he had to wait until he was older, he decided to be a dog, just like Billy in the book. Every playful puppy moment in When Billy Was a Dog is based on things Billy did during his “dog phase”.
Kirsty has written more than 20 books for children and young adults. As well as picture books, Kirsty has written junior fiction and young adult novels, as well as some non-fiction and anthologies. Kirsty has lived in Canada and Wales, but now lives in Melbourne with her husband. To find out more about Kirsty Murray visit her website kirstymurray.com
Karen Blair’s illustrations are very lively! Karen has illustrated her linework with charcoal as she feels it has lively and loose quality that conveys both movement and emotion. For the colour, Karen has used gouache paint, which can be applied as a strong flat colour or a more loose watery colour. You can find out more about Karen by visiting her website karenblair.com.au
When you get your hands on this terrific picture book, take note of the gorgeous endpapers at the front, with all the photos of different dogs, and then notice the endpapers at the back with a special photo!