BILLY BOONE by Alison Smith


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The author of Reserved for Mark Anthony Crowder introduces another protagonist who is determined to pursue a goal despite disapproval from family and others. Billy, 12, wants to play the trumpet in her school band and to see Dixie, her cheerfully nonconforming grandmother, on a regular basis. Her mother, however, thinks that the piano is more ladylike and that Dixie is a bad influence. Billy short-circuits piano lessons by being resolutely untalented, but discovers that her mother's opinion of female trumpeters is actually shared by her chauvinistic music teacher. When her father, alienated by the teacher's attitude, offers Billy an after-school job at his office to pay the rent on the trumpet, all seems well until a burglary occurs--a possible result of carelessness on Billy's part, the assumption being that she's been given too much responsibility. It takes the determined efforts of grandmother Dixie and Billy together to solve the mystery, enabling Billy both to stay in the band and to see more of her grandmother. Although most of the characters here are stock, they are brought to life in Billy's funny, often self-critical narration. The result is slight but sprightly, with a well-drawn main character about whom middle-level readers will want to know more.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Scribners