Read to Me Picture Book Challenge: Billy & Milly Short & Silly by Eve B. Feldman

Billy & Milly Short & Silly
written by Eve B. Feldman, pictures by Tuesday Mourning
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24651-7
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

Follow Billy and Milly through thirteen adventures in these funny and simple short stories. Through very basic storytelling, these brief narratives are told in only three or four words apiece. For example, "Stoops (Billy and Milly sit on their front stoops as the ice cream truck drives by.), Hoops (Billy shoots his basketball...), Scoops ( Milly licks her ice cream cone...), Oops (...until the ball hits the cone and squashes her ice cream!)."
I used this book last week with my first and second grade students as an introduction to story elements.  I explained to them that to be a story there needs to be at least three things: characters, setting, and plot.  The short stories in this book worked perfectly to emphasize my point that a story doesn't need to have 100 pages to be a story.  By the time I got to the last story, the students were reading the words with me (a clear sign of engagement).  Whenever a book captures the attention of my often restless first and second graders, I am always relieved.  Not every book is a success after all.  But this is a book that I will definitely use again.  Maybe next time I'll work with the students and see if we can come up with short stories of our own.

One of things that makes this book work so well is the way the illustrations and the words compliment each other perfectly.  Since each story is only three or four words, the illustrations become a vital part of helping the students see the story.  Mourning's illustrations do this perfectly. I also appreciated the organization of some of the stories, where the story starts on one double page spread, but finished on the next page.  This allowed me to ask the students where they thought the story was going (prediction), another important skill for young readers to develop.  The design of the book (short stories, few words) makes this a great book for struggling readers as well. Highly recommended for teachers to use with their students or for private reading time.

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge:

Watering Goal: 10 books completed


  1. I wonder if practicing to write stories in four words would help me keep my picture book manuscripts word count down? :) I love this concept and how you used it with your classes.

  2. Fascinating concept -- I can imagine the fun the kids had trying to predict how the story would progress/end.

    Thank you!

  3. Thanks for visiting. The kids did have a good time predicting. The discussion about what made a story a story was interesting too. I got answers like, "words" "pictures" etc. It was fun.


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