Published by Faber & Faber.

I shall never think of mackerel in the same way again.

This is a beautiful book, unlike any I have read before. Billy’s ‘thing’ is Natural History, the strange and peculiar; the interesting facts about animals that make the subject so fascinating. His hero, is also one of mine – Sir David Attenborough, who makes regular visits to Billy in his daydreams, as his mind wanders away from life when he doesn’t want to deal with the more challenging things that it periodically throws at us all. He watches all David’s programmes, and he knows that he has all the answers to everything – to all the questions, he just has to listen and he will answer.

Billy is different, not the usual boy. Being different isn’t good, at least that is what Billy has found. His class find him strange and as Billy knows that isn’t always good in the animal kingdom.

Then a new boy arrives at school, another boy who is interested in Natural History. He though is different from Billy; he can’t swim, and Billy can. Patrick though, can do other things…and is willing to wait for his friend, when many others wouldn’t.

The imaginative text – which is so peculiar to the book is reflected in the use of typeface  – which along with the illustrations makes this very unique.

It is a beautifully illustrated volume – the book has superb free and paste-down endpapers and a lovely dust jacket with fish swimming on them – and one in particular, a mackerel facing Fish Boy on the front. It is handsomely designed and the pictures really contribute to making this a very special book – they make it more of a gift and rather special.

It has been published in hardback, but it would have been a disservice to both the story, design and illustrations if it hadn’t been. It costs a little more, but you receive more than you pay when you purchase such a volume.

Buy it.

Image: Anne Cecile

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