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Publishers Weekly Review
Browne (Willy the Champ) here offers another satisfyingly wry take on the trials of childhood. At the tale's center is chronic worrier Billy, whose oversize ears, middle part and festive sweater call to mind Browne's popular chimp, Willy. Billy's nighttime worries emerge in monochromatic framed images with humorous surrealistic flair. As he worries about hats, chapeaux of various styles hover over his bed; when he worries about shoes, a parade of pairs of shoes exits out the window; and water falls from the ceiling and surrounds his bed when he worries about rain. His parents try unsuccessfully to calm Billy's fears. But when his worries keep him awake at his grandma's house (Browne indicates the boy's growing anxiety with a portrait of the boy in bed, dominated by light blue and sepia tones and patterned wallpaper that suggests Rorschach shapes), she comes up with a solution. The wise woman gives him six tiny worry dolls that will "do all the worrying for you while you sleep." This works like a charm until the earnest lad starts worrying about the worry dolls. The hero inventively solves this problem, and the author wraps up with a note on the significance of worry dolls, which originated in Guatemala. The festive rainbow hues of the dolls' clothing effectively contrast with the somber shades of the art depicting the boy's worries. An entertaining, comforting bedtime read-aloud. Ages 4-7. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-In bed at night Billy frets about everything, from standard clothing items (shoes) to normal weather phenomena (clouds). His parents do their best to reassure him, but to no avail. Staying over at Grandma's, he is overwhelmed with anxiety until she gives him Guatemalan worry dolls, the perfect antidote for night terrors. This works until he starts to worry that he's overburdening the dolls. The boy's clever way of resolving the problem is sure to bring smiles to readers. The story is bookended by illustrations of Billy, first literally weighed down with apprehension, and finally full of optimistic self-confidence. An opening full-color illustration in watercolor and pencil depicts Billy lying stiffly in his bed. This is followed by a series of his monochromatic fright-filled imaginings layered with background details that add levels of interest for close observers (his pillow reveals a worried profile while his wallpaper is covered with shoe prints). The bright colors of Guatemalan yarns and patterns are echoed throughout. Billy's parents and grandmother are rounded, comforting figures, but in almost every spread it is the boy's small, pale face, pinched with worry, that is given the most visual weight and holds readers' attention. Children will appreciate that Billy's problems are solved both through the efforts of encouraging adults and through his own resourcefulness. A witty way to address the issue of ever-present childhood presentiments.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The always-interesting Browne adds a bit of Central American ambience to his typically British setting. Billy, hair parted, in gray-flannel shorts, is a worrier. In imaginative, almost surrealistic ink drawings, Billy worries about hats, shoes, giant birds. When he worries about rain, the picture shows him in his bedroom, floating on waves of water. His parents try to bolster him, but it's not until he stays at his grandmother's house that help appears--in the form of several brightly colored Guatemalan worry dolls. At first they help Billy sleep, but then he starts worrying that he has given the worry dolls too many worries. His creative solution is to make little dolls for the little dolls. The story is slight, but the pictures are amazing. In counterpoint to the monochromatic worry scenes are pictures so vivid and colorful, they ease concern and spread cheer with each turn of the page. Children will enjoy looking at the multiplying personal dolls and may ask for some of their own. A short note explains their genesis. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2006 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Very few artists understand a child's anxieties as deeply--or represent them so thoroughly--as Browne. Here, he presents Billy, who worries about "many things": hats, shoes, clouds, rain and giant birds, until his grandmother gives him some Guatemalan worry dolls to do the work for him. All is well for a few nights, but then he starts to worry about the dolls' worries--so he makes more dolls for all of them. This master of surrealism pictures Billy against his trademark wallpaper (which changes subtly with each separate worry) in mono-tinted compositions that trap him in bed, at the mercy of his fears. The highly saturated colors of Guatemalan weaving surround these disturbing images, insulating readers from their full impact and anticipating the eventual relief. Billy himself is human (though he wears a familiar vest), his round face and big ears only vaguely chimp-like; the adults in his life are reassuringly soft and bulky. It's a sweet acknowledgement that all kids have fears that plague them, and puts a wonderfully childlike solution at their disposal. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.