It seems that every school has that “weird kid” — you know, the one who is always marching to the beat of his own drum, head always in the clouds, never wanting to play by the rules. If you’ve never been that kid or friends with that kid, you might just think they are trouble. But did you know that they can grow up to be successful people?
William Joyce is one of those people. Once deemed “most challenging student” by his principal, he grew up to be an author-illustrator and award-winning filmmaker. Our app pick for today, Billy’s Booger, is his memoir that chronicles the beginning of his journey to become the celebrated creator he is today. It follows his fourth-grade self as he made his very first book
Young William (“Billy” in the book) is an energetic fourth grader whose wild imagination often lands him in trouble. Encouraged by his teachers, Billy enters a competition to see who can create the best kid’s book. He gets right to work, researching about all sorts of topics from meteor to mucus. He eventually creates “Billy’s Booger”, an illustrated book about a supercharged snot with super math powers.
Although Billy is sure about his masterpiece, he ends up not winning anything. Not even a note from the principal! Dejected, Billy becomes, as his sister puts it, “so normal now, it’s weird”.
Later on, when Billy returns his borrowed books to the library, he discovers that the other students love reading his book. The librarian tells him that amongst the contestants, his book is checked out the most. Billy realizes that being liked by his audience matters more than winning, and soon returns to his zany, creative self.
Parents Need to Know
Billy’s Booger features beautifully drawn spreads by William Joyce, which have been animated to enrich the story. Joyce also provides the narration and sound effects.
As made clear by the title, nasal secretion is a running joke in the book. Some people might think it crude, but kids will find it hilarious. The official age recommendation for this book is 4-8 years old, but I think the message would be received better by kids on the older side of spectrum.
Before handing the app to your kids, please note that you’ll be able to view a list of the developer’s other apps from the main screen, although you’ll need to answer a security question to access the links. The app doesn’t have third-party ads and in-app purchases, and it works great in Airplane mode.
In addition to the App Store, Billy’s Booger is available on iBooks. You can also pick up a hard copy version of Billy’s Booger from Amazon or from Simon & Schuster.
Things I Like
I think it’s pretty obvious that Billy’s Booger isn’t an ordinary storybook. It’s quirky and gross -- two things that kids love -- and incredibly inspiring at the same time.
It’s hard to believe that the “realistically-challenged” fourth grader could grow up to be an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, but Joyce showed that the kind, supporting adults around him contributed to the process. There are no villains in this book; as frustrated as they are of Billy’s antics, Billy’s parents and teachers never look down on him and are always encouraging him to improve.
What makes this story appealing is that the characters are relatable in some way. I think it’s safe to say that many of us have a Billy in our lives, maybe as a friend, a kid, or even ourselves. Hopefully, after reading this story we’ll see how being different isn’t so bad, and be more understanding of those who are perceived as weird by society.
Visually, there isn’t much to complain about; Joyce’s vibrant, mixed-media artwork really brings the story to life. I love how stylish the sixties look like in Joyce’s rendition. The little details, such as the beehive hair and spiral-cord phone, may fly past the kids’ radar but will be appreciated by the grown-ups.
Billy’s Booger is an unconventional tale about an imaginative boy, a heroic snot, and learning to be yourself. Illustrated by award-winning writer/filmmaker William Joyce, this terrific book-app shows that with proper support and guidance, a child can go far with his imagination. Great for kids and grown-ups a like.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
About Moonbot Studios
Moonbot Studios is a place where outstanding individual talents combine to create extraordinary entertainment to an array of media platforms. They make books, films, apps, games and whatever tickles their fancy.
You should also check out their other apps:
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