Sergeant Billy: The True Story of THE GOAT Who Went to War by Mireille Messier, illustrated by Kass Reich

 Sergeant Billy: The True Story of THE GOAT Who Went to War by Mireille Messier, illustrated by Kass Reich, Tundra Books (Penguin Random House Canada), 9780735264427, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book:   This is an entertaining tale inspired by the true account of Billy the Goat, who was adopted by a Canadian platoon during World War I.  The old time illustrations, with poppies and all, brings you back in time to the 1900s. The story begins with soldiers making a train stop in Saskatchewan as they head to war and borrow a young girl’s  goat to bring them luck.  He quickly became Private Billy, their mascot, and befriended the soldiers of the Fifth Battalion. He did everything with them and was taken to England and then on to France to fight in the front lines. Not everyone thought a goat belonged in the trenches- the colonel placed him under arrest for being a spy.  The soldiers missed him and he was returned to the Fifth Battalion. Private Billy became instrumental in the battle and was promoted to Sergeant. Years passed before the war was over and Billy was returned home to live out his life. The back pages provide actual photographs and facts on this brave war hero’s true story.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a great read aloud to introduce  a discussion on war with young children. And anyone who enjoyed the “Finding Winnie, the True Story of Winnie the Pooh”.

Who should buy this book?  elementary schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ?  Picture books nonfiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Julie Durmis, JC Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Date of review:  January 19, 2020


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