Billy Bumpkin is a book in nine episodes about a young boy and his single mom who live in a semi-rural setting in some unspecified timeframe. In the first episode Billy is age seven. He wanders out the door and gets lost. In the last episode he is age twelve. He saves his mother from harm in a storm. I call this a book of epiphanies because it's about all that Billy discovers as he grows and explores his environs and all its characters.
The Billy stories can be read by an older grammar school student or middle-school student. They would be appropriate to be read to beginning readers. The book has ten illustrations, so for the very young -- the five year-olds - a grandparent or parent could simply review the illustrations and talk about the stories that lay ahead.
Billy contains no video, no bad words, nothing sexual in reference, no violence, and no shoulder-fired weapons. The font is even deliberately large so that young kids -- or grandparents -- can find it easier to read. Billy is a joy.
As parents or grandparents, we want our offspring to become healthy, productive adults. So, we can mold them this way by choosing the right schools, the right churches, the right clothes and the appropriate toys and friends. This offers us an appropriate sense of security. On the other hand, we can shepherd from afar and let our young grow and learn in their own diverse ways. This affords growth, but at the risk of that sense of security. This is the dichotomy that makes parenting so necessary, but also so tough.
The Billy stories are a saga of that interplay of values. The hidden theme is that of his mom, Betty, and how as a single parent she handles the growth of her son, even though she has her own personal tragedies to deal with.
Billy is for young readers and to help turn reluctant readers into interested ones. Written for both elementary school and middle grade readers and even teen readers, the values of exploring but also the dangers of crossing boundaries are woven into the tales.