Dolly Parton’s Billy the Kid Makes it Big
40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
French bulldog Billy the Kid was born with an ear for music. And not just any music. He loves barking to the beat of country music! So Billy sets out to Nashville to sing his heart out.
But when he meets some big bullies at the Battle of the Bow-wows, Billy worries he’s barking up the wrong tree. But when they start to pick on one of his new friends, one much smaller than all the others, he knows it is up to him to stand up and call out the bad behaviour. But he knows he will need the help of his new friends, and so he comes up with a clever plan…
Based on the theme of one of Dolly Parton’s own songs, Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny, based on her own life experiences, the anti-bullying message is strong as young readers are encouraged to celebrate differences rather than mocking them, a theme underlined in the illustrations which show dogs of every shape, size and colour. But as strong as that message is, there is an equally strong one about following your dreams, believing in yourself and persevering to make them happen as Billy the Kid faces adversity and rejection before he finds his niche.
Parton, herself, is well-known for her Imagination Library, a free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere (including in some parts of Australia) with over 211 million books given to young children to help foster a love of reading and encourage them to dream. “The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.” So this copy will find its way into the local community as part of the hidden books initiative that is growing daily.