It’s difficult to believe that this is not a genuine diary by a primary-aged pupil. Readers will really feel that they have been granted access to the innermost thoughts of Billie, as she tries to keep hold of her BFF when a new girl (who can do the splits!) arrives and threatens to disrupt things.
Billie Upton Green is clearly a confident, forthright and open-minded child, whose mums have taught her to respect others and show kindness. This doesn’t mean that she isn’t capable of being unkind, cruel and judgemental and, when Janey arrives at school and is obviously trying to steal her best friend Layla’s attention, Billie immediately assumes that she must be the evil villain who is stealing teachers’ purses at school – and she plans to find proof.
This isn’t easy as Billie is surrounded by people who want her to give Janey a chance and to be forgiving and understanding, even when Janey is insensitive to Billie’s adoption by two mums. She is cajoled into having play dates and even inviting Janey to her mums’ wedding but, just like with real friendships, things aren’t always easy and there is much for the girls to navigate.
This is a joyful story full of characters who are eager to see the good in people. It celebrates diversity and inclusivity in a way that is easy for children to relate to and urges readers to consider that opening up to new friendships might not be so bad. The pages are full of doodles, diagrams and spelling corrections, which offer lots of comic relief throughout, and make the diary feel even more authentic.
This won’t be the only diary published by Billie, and readers will enjoy reading more of her mischievous musings in future episodes.