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.
I left the day job to start a full time writing career. However I've inadvertently gained a full time job in home schooling two little ones which I'm quite enjoying. It has also meant I've been upskilling in hospitality, catering and running an activity centre from home. Our youngest is a #Type1Superhero which has also meant our parenting job just got a lot more creative.
In my 'spare time' I've also managed to publish my first children's story back in 2017 called The Yellow Bills. I still continue to tell people that I will get around to working on book two... and I will, I promise once I've got the school work done, the darlings fed, watered and to bed...
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!
Mya loves planes and wants to fly, but it’s not easy when you’re only 8.
The Yellow Bills is a smashing book for children because it manages to blend fantasy with talking ducks and control towers hidden in trees, for example, with real themes and issues of importance to children today.
Mya is a mixed race child which gives much needed status to similar children. The fact that she is a girl making model aircraft, wanting to fly and having exciting adventures challenges gender stereotyping without the young reader actually realising. I loved that approach because it feels natural and uncontrived. Similarly, Officer Peacock’s status despite her physical disability sends exactly the right messages that we are all worthy of success and respect regardless of our physical abilities.
There’s a highly satisfying plot for young children and I thought the language of the writing was perfectly pitched. There’s sufficient challenge in some of the vocabulary so that children can learn as they read or are read to, but the whole story is completely accessible too.
However, Michelle McKenna prevents The Yellow Bills from being too idealistic and sachharine through her excellent portrayal of character. Mya is by no means perfect. She sulks and gets cross, often doing things she knows her Mum wouldn’t like. Mr Sour is vindictive and a bully. These characteristics afford the opportunity to discuss similar aspects in a child’s life as a result of the reading so that I think The Yellow Bills offers more than just a great story to share.
The Yellow Bills is a really good children’s book with smashing themes and a great storyline and I really recommend it.
This book is aimed at young children, I would guess between 5 and 12 year olds, although other age groups, and adults would find it an enjoyable read as well.
It starts off with a young girl Mya making model airplanes and then going through a hedge behind her garden and finding some ducks learning to fly. As she desperately wants to fly as well she tries to persuade the teacher to teach her at the same time.
I think this is a brilliant book as it combines a lot of fantasy, such as talking ducks and classes for them, with real life issues, such as bullying, not always getting what you want and how to overcome obstacles people put in your way, in such a fun way that children will want to read it all the way to the end.
It is a longish book for bedtime, at 60 pages, so we had to read it over a number of evenings and when I stopped reading it my daughter wanted me to carry on reading and loved the ending.
Both my daughter and I highly recommend it to everyone
I loved this. The story of an eight year old girl learning how to fly with the help of ducklings. Mya loves aircraft and has always wanted to fly. When she hears some ducklings being given lessons at the bottom of her garden she just has to join in. This is beautifully written and has several “lessons” in ti for children. things like someone with a disability, obstacles i life, not telling lies etc all dealt with in a nice way. I couldn’t help but smile several times along the way and loves the pencil drawings within the book itself. this would make a wonderful gift for any little girl around the eight year old mark. At just over 60 pages it would be a few evenings bedtime stories and one they could perhaps, with a little help, even read some for themselves. an educational cheerful, uplifting read with a smile For more reviews please see my blog http://nickibookblog.blogspot.co.uk/ or follow me on Twitter @nickijmurphy1
This is a really fun story that really works the imagination.
It is very well written and will be loved by its target age group. I can easily imagine it being read over and over again and can see it becoming a firm favourite. Everything about this book is great and it has some brilliant characters!