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Billy and the Birdfrogs Paperback – October 1, 2008

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Go on a comic adventure! Allow yourself to embrace this wacky tale of an eccentric but loving grandmother and her courageous grandson by traveling down the endless tunnel of B.B. Wurge's wild imagination! -- T.M. Murphy, author of The Belltown Mystery Series

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 8
  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Leapfrog Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981514820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981514826
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,205,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"I've been told the world is crazy, more now than ever. That may be true, but we can navigate successfully through our crazy world if we stick to fundamental principles: loyalty to family and friends, compassion, and an open imagination." B. B. Wurge.

B. B. Wurge holds degrees in hair growth and zoology. He began writing children's books after leaving his first job as an entertainer in a primate house, and now lives in an elevator in Manhattan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
It's silly and it's funny
And it's crazy and it's wild
It's Roald Dahl and Burton
And some Snicket for your child

[You see]

Billy's lost his mother down
A long dark scary shaft
He's living with his Granny
Whom folks think is rather daft

She's welded shut the basement
And no visitors make calls
They dump their trash by slingshot
And make sauce with tennis balls


The shaft is in their basement
And is lined with ancient bones
You cannot hear the bottom
If you drop a hundred stones

And in the depths lurk creatures
And they leave three-footed tracks
They eat humans for breakfast
Or at least for juicy snacks

[And worse]

There is a nasty plot afoot
To take away their house
His Granny gets into a jam
Planned by an evil louse

There's only one thing to be done
By Billy on his own
Down the shaft the young boy goes
And faces the unknown

[in closing]

Like Dahl and Burton - Snicket too
Some parts are very dark
So if a child is sensitive
Do not let them embark

The plot wraps up a tad too fast
But nobody will care
Half the fun's not how it ends
It's how it gets you there


I like the style of B.B. Wurge
I think I'd even buy more
And even though he's older now
I'd still cast Freddie Highmore

Recommended for ages 9 and up

Amanda Richards, September 16, 2008
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
With one of the most authentic voices in young adult literature, B. B. Wurge makes an outstanding debut in this sly tale of real estate, paleontology, and the ties that bond even the most unusual of families.

Wurge lives in a very narrow 4-story building with his eccentric Grandma, an endearing, energetic, and slightly crusty woman who fears for their safety: B. B.'s mother (Grannie's daughter) was killed several years earlier while on a dinosaur dig thousands of feet beneath the basement; a dig that had already revealed a wooly mammoth and other promising fossils. Grannie was a little "different" anyway--how else to explain one who determines when her spaghetti sauce is done by dunking tennis balls in it.

An Auntie Mame-like character such as Grannie (and, one imagines, her daughter) is bound to make a few enemies, and some wickedly drawn crooked speculators (a timely book!) squash Grannie with three steam rollers, seize her house, and surrender the frightened B.B. to a family that barely wants or understands the boy they insist on calling "Bobby."

That's the plot, and it's wonderfully twisted, but not so convoluted that one can't follow it. What makes this book a gem is B.B.'s narration. Most adult writers can probably do a pretty good impersonation of a pre-adolescent's voice. The problem is the temptation to go too cute, precious, precocious even, and make every bit of the narration shine. Well, most boys aren't budding Oscar Wildes, and an author who goes too cute risks subverting the story by drawing too much attention to the writing.

What I especially liked was the B.B's natural "voice." Sure, B.B.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sabine Kastner on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Billy and the Birdfrogs is definitely not just a kids' book. It's one of those crossovers for kids and adults, like Harry Potter (but more on that comparison below). The story is about nine-year-old Billy whose last name we never find out. He lives with his grandmother in a townhouse in Manhattan. At the beginning of the story he doesn't know what happened to his mother or father. One day he sees his grandmother sealing up the basement door and he asks her why nobody is allowed to go down into the basement. She begins to tell him a story. There is a hole in the basement floor, a hole that leads nobody-knows-where. And strange animals, "birdfrogs" the grandmother calls them, are coming out of the hole. The story gets strange and scary, and sets the stage for the adventures to come. I won't give away the plot, but Billy goes on both an action adventure and a kind of inner personal journey. He finds out about his mother and father, he has to overcome villains that try to take him away from his grandmother, and he relies on his own family loyalty and personal grit to save the day.

There is no question the best part of this book is the grandmother, and Billy's relationship to her. That part of the book is so strong that it seems to me like the makings of a classic here.

Personally I loved the book. I read it in one sitting and laughed all the way through it. Nonetheless, the beginning reminded me too much of The Witches by Roald Dahl. Grandmother tells a long story to a little boy, who doesn't entirely believe her. This author is obviously a Dahl fan. That said, I do think Billy is an original book. It has a lot of creative, new elements. In fact, it was refreshing to read a new book that really had its own voice and created its own kind of comedy.
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