Friday, March 13, 2009

Before Columbine, There Was Billy

Although Australia is known for its "characters" such as Steve The Crocodile Hunter Irwin, Crocodile Dundee, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it ought to be better known for its rich history of literature for children.

The irascible and long out of print Billy, The Most Horrible Boy in the World (Michael Dugan, story; Brett Colquhoun, Illustrations; 1981) is a beautiful Australian story that deserves to sit alongside Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding.

Dugan and Colquhoun should have received knighthoods for this.

Of course, not everybody agrees.

I hope you have enjoyed the selected (but not complete) scans from this stunning book as much as Aussie children did back in good old '81. What a year it was for kidlit!

Published By Picture Puffins, a Division of Penguin Books.


  1. I think I knew that kid.

    Seriously, I thought the image of the burning Aunt was fabulously horrific, but that image of Billy hanging? Holy shit.

  2. Holy shit indeed, Shon...

    I thought Ronald Ryan was the last to be hanged in this country; clearly I was mistaken.

    'Just an excitable boy...'