Thursday, April 30, 2015

Billy Sure, Kid Entrepreneur

Billy Sure, Kid Entrepreneur
Luke Sharpe
Graham Ross, Illustrator
Simon & Schuster, 2015  160 pgs
Grades 3-6
Billy Sure series #1

Billy Sure is having a great summer.  After inventing the "All Ball", a ball that can change from one kind of ball to another with just the click of a remote, he has become rich and famous.  Billy and his friend Manny have set up a business called "Sure Things, INC", and the All Ball has become the must-have of the summer season.  Billy is making the rounds on TV shows and meeting famous people.  Things calm down as Billy must start his seventh grade year at school.  Fellow students, teachers, and even the principal are treating him differently and everyone wants either money or help marketing their own inventions.  Meanwhile, Billy is out of ideas for his next creation.  Billy and Manny have a great solution.  They set-up a website encouraging kids to submit their invention ideas and Sure Thing, INC will develop and produce them.  Billy hires his pain-in-the-neck older sister to help sift through the ideas and she uncovers "The Sibling Silencer".  Its a great idea, but Billy must tinker with the initial plans to make it actually work.  The problem is: Billy doesn't think that he was the one who figured out the All Ball.  The plans appeared on his desk one morning.  After confessing his dilemma to Manny, His friend comes up with a solution, proving Billy the true inventor of the All Ball, as well as the newly developed Sibling Silencer.  The next big thing is underway, but there is still a strange problem.  Billy's mom, who is a scientist working in the field far away, has been out of signal reach to send an e-mail.  Yet who has been sending e-mails asking about his new ideas using his mom's name and account?  This provides a hook to the next projected adventure: Billy Sure, Kid Entrepreneur and the Stink Spectacular, released simultaneously.

Welcome to Billy Sure, the latest cartoon-hybrid series aimed at the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Crowd.  The book's title is a bit deceiving.  Billy, although rich, is more of an inventor than a true entrepreneur.  His friend Manny manages the business side, leaving Billy to the inventing and acting as the "face" of Sure thing, INC.  What sets this series apart from some of its counterparts is that there is a bit of a science element, perhaps encouraging readers to invent something of their own.  Also, the book offers a bit of a mystery: who is actually doing the inventing?  Throughout the whole book, humor reigns and the cartoons offered by Graham Ross further add to the fun.  Billy is a likable and regular boy with regular kid problems that readers will identify with.  A perfect choice for boys, girls will like this series as well.  I would recommend Billy Sure to all readers, especially reluctant ones.  The series will be popular and is a cut above the average offerings in this genre.  The little hook at the end, leaving readers wondering who sent Billy the e-mails under Mom's name, will encourage readers to run to the second book.  Two more books are scheduled to be released in August and November.

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