Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 22 Dec 2015

Bill In A China Shop by Katie McAllaster Weaver and illustrations by Tim Ragin

OK, so Bill is a bull - an Edwardian bull at that - oh, and yes, he's literally in a china shop.

Bill the Bull collects choice pieces of china but, perhaps understandably, none of the shops that sell his heart's desire will let him in. That is until one day when he chances on a shop that has no sign barring him from entry and so in he creeps in to buy a collectible. The inevitable chaos ensues leaving Bill crest-fallen and mortified under the withering stare of a merciless and toffee-nosed proprietor. Just as Bill dissolves in tears and frustration, three older women enter the shop and, seeing his distress, take his side. They buy the cup and saucer he covets and pay for the damage done. Bill invites his new friends to tea to thanks them for their kindness.

A simple story of kindness towards those who are different that is beautifully drawn and economically written in verse. So what makes a book like this special? It's hard to say and it might just be that it's only really special for me because it speaks directly to my own fears and sense of self. Like Bill I'm an oaf in confined spaces and just like Bill I too get mortified by my lack of social grace. I feel his every anguish and empathise with his deep-seated inadequacy. Bill, to all intents and purposes, might just as well be me.

We all need understanding friends who wont mock us for what we are and if Bill can find his maybe we've all got hope.

The book was published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in 2003 and can be purchased on line for well under £5.00. What a bargain.

Terry Potter

December 2015