After many years of using the book with KS2 children, I have come to think of it as the perfect classroom text. Susan Price has created a rich and exciting story which is told in a comparatively short book, which makes it ideal for classroom use…helping to avoid those terrible moments at the end of the year when your poor class leaves you without you ever reaching the end of your weighty class text.
The story itself is centred around the arrival of Hairy Bill in an unsuspecting household. His first appearance in the text is incredibly memorable; adults and children alike will be immediately transported to those seconds that seem like minutes in your own bed when you hear a sound in an otherwise silent house.
The way in which Susan Price juxtaposes the ordinary, everyday lives of the central family against the world of myth and magic brought by Hairy Bill makes the story truly enthralling and strangely identifiable. You will find yourself imagining what it might be like to have Hairy Bill sat in your own living room!
The book is also interspersed with some wonderful illustrations. The illustration of Hairy Bill on the attack has stuck with me for a long time….its is terrifying in a comical way (perfect for children) and akin to an angry terrier going for your leg!
This would be a brilliant text to use as part of a unit of work on mythical stories, as the background of the text is deeply set within British, specifically Scottish myths and folk stories. However…you really don’t need an excuse to use this book in your classroom…it is one of the most enjoyable books to read aloud to children!