The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna (illustrated by Steven Johnson) #BookReview #BlogTour

Mya loves planes and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. As luck would have it she comes across a flying school run by Lieutenant Drake who awards his pupils splendid pilot hats when they graduate. Mya wants to join the class but there's just one problem. She's not a duck! Could Goose the little duckling with big flying ambitions be the key to Mya getting her pilot's hat? Or will Mr Sour the teacher who never quite made the grade have other ideas...Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Michelle weaves a story with the humour and invention of Nick Ward's 'Charlie Small' series meets Dick King Smith's wonder of the animal world.

It's my pleasure to be closing the blog tour for The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna today. Many thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.
Mya's Uncle Arthur is a pilot and brings his niece gifts and a map back from every country he visits. Mya knows that when she grows up she wants to be a pilot too but in the meantime she loves to build model aeroplanes. It's lovely to read a book in which Mya's passion and enthusiasm seems to be clearly encouraged by the adults in her life; her Mum prefers her to make her models in the shed so she doesn't get paint or glue on the furniture but there is never the slightest hint that her hobby is an unusual one for a girl - which is just as it should be, of course.
However, Mya's ambitions to take to the air do meet with some resistance when she overhears the latest trainees for a local flying school and decides she wants to earn her own pilot's hat. Lieutenant Drake's reticence can be excused though because this is a school for ducklings and Mya is a human! The idea that a little girl could learn to fly with ducklings is such a funny one and is bound to appeal to young children with their wonderful capacity for imagination. Mya is a delightful character; spirited, kind and resourceful but I suspect it's the feathered characters who will really engage young readers. Goose is the little duckling who befriends Mya and offers to help her get her pilot's hat, with some assistance from the other ducklings - including the fabulously named Plum Sauce!Mya still has to convince the sceptical Lieutenant Drake but the aptly named Mr Sour has other ideas...
Children will love being given a window into the secret world of birds through Mya's eyes. It turns out that they also have air traffic control, air shows and their own version of the elite Red Arrows known as the Yellow Bills. There's also an important message about inclusivity subtly included in the story as Mya learns about Officer Peacock who may only have one leg but still became a Yellow Bill thanks to Lieutenant Drake's insistence that every duckling should be able to access the flying school.
The Yellow Bills is a charming book filled with invention and wit about following your dreams. I loved the sweet little illustrations by Steven Johnson too. I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school and will be buying a copy of The Yellow Bills to give to our library; it's a story that's a pleasure to read aloud to a child but will also be enjoyed by independent young readers. I thoroughly enjoyed it too - and wasn't surprised to discover that pigeons can be a naughty as I've always suspected!

The Yellow Bills is published by Matador Books and can be purchased here.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

During the day Michelle works part time in an office in London and then gets home to her full time job looking after two little fab ones. Michelle has been writing stories on and off for years but The Yellow Bills is the first time she’s had the confidence to put her children’s story into print.She finds her inspiration for writing is on the train journey to and from work.When she was younger one of her favourite stories to read was (still is) Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In fact she loved it so much she used to try and think of ways to see how she could change her name to Alice. She was about seven so had to listen to her Mum, who said she couldn’t change her name until she left home. By the time that day came she decided she didn’t mind being called Michelle after all.Michelle’s other favourite’s are Roald Dahl’s,The BFG and The Little Vampire by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.
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