Nine-year-old Billy Brown feels that he is no good at anything, except maths, and who wants to be brilliant at that. But when the country’s beloved Queen Alicia struggles to understand a very tricky maths problem Billy finds himself in the royal palace in the middle of the night explaining fractions to the Queen while she eats a boiled egg in bed. After this surreal encounter, Queen Alicia is so taken with Billy and his family that she decides to come and stay in their home and much hilarity ensues as she discovers the joys of such ordinary things as bottle banks and chocolate digestive biscuits.
This first children’s book by Irish author and journalist Alison Healy is a very funny read, enhanced greatly by Fintan Taite’s comic and lively illustrations. Billy and the Queen are both endearing characters who struggle with feeling different and with recognising their own strengths. The supporting cast of family members and royal staff are all memorable, especially Billy’s Gran, an ex-spy. The chaotic situations and colloquial dialogue are laugh out loud funny throughout and this short, sparkling book is highly recommended for any 8+ readers who enjoy a hilarious story with larger than life characters and a warm heart, especially those who find maths difficult.