Billy Knows A Secret

Secrets: Billy Growing Up, Volume 8

Children - Grade 4th-6th
150 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2016
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Author Biography

I'm a dad of two grown children and a stepfather to three more. I started writing five years ago with books designed to appeal to the inner child in adults - very English humour.

My daughter Louise, reminded me of the bedtime stories I told her, and suggested I write them down for others to enjoy. I haven't yet, but instead I have written this eight-book series for 7 to 9-year-old boys and girls. Each one is a traditional story dealing with negative behaviours, but with positive outcomes.

Although the main characters, Billy and his friends, are made up, Billy's dog, Jacko, is based on our much-loved family pet, which, with our second dog Malibu, caused havoc and mayhem to the delight of my children and consternation of me.

Prior to writing, I was a college lecturer and later worked in the computer industry, at a time before smartphones and tablets, when computers were powered by steam and stood as high as a bus.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Billy Knows A Secret: Secrets: Billy Growing Up, Volume 8 is a fiction book for children, grades 4-6 written by James Minter and illustrated by Helen Rushworth. Everybody ends up keeping a secret at some point in their lives. Ant's mum asks Billy and Ant to keep a secret about Max's ninth birthday gift. She and Ant's dad want to give Max a new bike. They know she definitely doesn't want a girly bike, but have no idea what kind of bike she'd like best. Mum wants Ant and Billy to do some sleuthing and get the answer for her -- but they have to keep the bike a secret from Max. Ant and Billy do a great job at having Max pick out the bike of her dreams, but it's hard for Ant to keep the gift a secret from her. Billy and Ant end up keeping a different kind of secret when Billy accidentally scratches his dad's new car when the two boys were washing it. First thing they did wrong was not telling him right away instead of coloring in the scratch with a marker. But allowing Tom's brother, Eddy, to take the blame for the scratch was much worse. This was one secret that turned into a wrong that had to be addressed.

James Minter's children's book for grades 4-6, Billy Knows A Secret: Secrets: Billy Growing Up, Volume 8, is all about secrets. There are good ones, like planning a surprise party or getting someone a gift, but the bad ones, like letting someone else take the blame for something you've done, are something else entirely. This cautionary tale shows how a simple mistake ends up being blown into a police matter where the accused is innocent, proving that honesty and admitting to a mistake are always the best of policies, even though 'fessing-up seems terribly scary at the time. While a bit more serious in tone than some of the preceding books in this series, I especially enjoyed seeing how the characters I've grown to know so well do indeed do the right thing, even if it takes them some time to get up the courage to do so. This is a well-written, engaging, and at times suspenseful tale. Billy Knows A Secret: Secrets: Billy Growing Up, Volume 8 is most highly recommended.