Bill Bailey, Please Come Home

The Shotgun Shack Kitties

Children - Picture Book
42 Pages
Reviewed on 03/30/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Children's author A.N. Stewart is a consummate storyteller. In her debut picture book, Bill Bailey Please Come Home, the first installation in The Shotgun Shack Kitties. This series follows a group of spirited kitties that live in a shotgun house in New Orleans. With these stories A.N. combines playful storytelling with the vibrancy of New Orleans, with each book highlighting a feature of the lively region—jazz and other music, food, community. A.N. is her own inspiration for her stories, as she indeed lives in a shotgun house in New Orleans with too many cats.
A.N. believes a great book is one that evokes compassion and joy and reminds readers of the beauty around us, in a world that has enough sadness or stress. She hopes her own young readers come away from her stories excited about music, nature, and reading, and that it stays with them long after the book is closed.
Born and raised in southeast Louisiana, when she isn’t writing fun and heartwarming stories for children, A.N. is a licensed massage therapist with her own business who also writes and performs comedy. She lives in New Orleans with ten cats including, of course, the one and only Bill Bailey.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

A shotgun shack in New Orleans is home to Bill Bailey and many other cats like him. Eartha feeds the kittens before leaving for work. Bill Bailey, the cat who loves to wander, is not happy that the humans in his neighborhood cannot understand him. Unlike Eartha, who is the only human who can, the other humans only hear him meowing and can't understand his words. Fortunately, Bill meets some elder cats in the neighborhood who know how to make all humans hear them -- with music. Bill is happy that they will teach him and the other cats how to communicate with humans and is excited to inform them. A.N. Stewart's Bill Bailey, Please Come Home is a stirring, lovable children's book about adorable cats and the magic of music.

The book is filled with multiple delights from start to finish. First, the narrative of natural life is quite compelling, describing a beautiful world of sunshine and animals like pelicans, blue herons, and cranes. Additionally, it introduces young readers to a very pleasing song and mentions some interesting musical instruments that will delight children interested in music. The pictures illustrate the plot brilliantly. The cartoon images of cats, plants, houses, humans, musical instruments, and joyful celebrations are carefully crafted to put the reader in a positive mood. Bill Bailey's cheerful and adventurous personality is also quite infectious and likable. Bill Bailey, Please Come Home is a great gift for youngsters with its enthralling story and pictures. A.N. Stewart does an excellent job of capturing the wonderful charm of animals and the irresistible allure of good music!

Diana Lopez

For children, learning to live together is essential and can be fun. Moreover, being part of a community allows us to learn new skills. Bill Bailey, Please Come Home: The Shotgun Shack Kitties by A.N. Stewart highlights the importance of socialization and communication. Bill Bailey is an adorable kitty who loves to go for walks and learn everything he can about the world. He greets his neighbors when walking down the street. People can't understand him, and that makes him sad. However, some older cats reveal a secret to him: music can help humans understand them as it is a universal language. Bill is excited about discovering this and gathers his feline friends to learn together and discover the power of music.

I liked Bill Bailey, Please Come Home because of the values it teaches, such as caring for others, harmony, and collaboration when working as a team. The narrative is entertaining and ideal for teaching young readers a love of animals and music. The descriptions are clear, emphasizing pleasant environments and aspects such as the scent of flowers. The images are wonderful, showing a variety of felines and musical instruments. The colors are cheerful, and the settings have many details, such as houses, flowers, and animals, giving a vivid perspective of New Orleans. I loved how A.N. Stewart combined the story with a song, making the reading more interactive. In addition, Bill Bailey is a kind and friendly character and a great role model. Children will learn the value of music and how wonderful it is to share moments with friends.

Ann Linus

In the quaint city of New Orleans, many kitties live in a beautiful shotgun house with a dear girl named Eartha. Eartha feeds them every morning before leaving for work, and the kitties spend their day doing whatever they want. Some kitties play, some bask in the sunlight, and some walk around town, like Bill Bailey. Out on his daily walk one day, Bill Bailey realized that his human neighbors couldn’t understand him when he tried saying hello to them. This made him sad. As he continued on his walk, two older cats who had witnessed his experience called out to him and told him they knew a secret way to make humans understand cats. Oh, how Bill Bailey’s eyes glowed as he waited impatiently to hear the secret! Read Bill Bailey, Please Come Home by A.N. Stewart to learn this secret.

Bill Bailey, Please Come Home is a colorful blend of cats, colors, and music. The story is simple and interesting. However, the highlights for me were the lovely descriptions and illustrations of New Orleans. The narrative by A.N. Stewart and drawings by Virginia de Mahy painted a vivid picture of the city. Another highlight was the theme song, an adaptation of the classic song “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,” written by Hughie Cannon in 1902. The song was fitting and entertaining, and I enjoyed discovering such an old song. There are several values to be learned from this book, and I recommend it to young readers who love cats.