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'I hate Frozen Billy - his painted, staring wooden eyes, the way his eyelids click when Uncle Len pulls a string, his long thin legs and his bright red wooden mouth ...' Clarrie and Will live with their Uncle Len - a brilliant ventriloquist in the nearby music hall. But though Len loves his act almost as much as he loves his beer, Top Billing is out of his grasp until Will thinks up a way to double the drama with a new act and some extraordinary new patter that he and Frozen Billy can share on stage. It's a grand idea, hatched in hope and excitement. But, to Clarrie's horror, soon it begins to turn terribly sour ...Anne Fine's novel combines her trademark humour, engaging characters and flawless prose to produce a spooky adventure set in the late-Victorian world of the music hall.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780440866305
ISBN-10: 0440866308
Format: Paperback
(194mm x 130mm x 12mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Yearling (imprint of Random House Children's Books)
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Publish Date: 1-Jun-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » While Clarrie and Will's father is in Australia trying to earn enough to send for the family and their mother is in prison in Ireland, wrongly accused of stealing a basket of food, they are in the care of their uncle Len, who is drinking and gambling away the money he earns as a ventriloquist. Will improves Uncle Len's act by becoming the "brother" of dummy Frozen Billy, and they are a huge hit. But Clarrie has always feared the dummy and sees Will becoming less like a child and as frozen as the wooden puppet. With a great deal of patience, ingenuity and some timely help, plucky Clarrie saves the day, all wrongs are righted and there is a satisfying ending to the drama. Fine weaves an inventive tale set in Edwardian London with characters who fit the setting perfectly and with just enough darkness to keep the proceedings from too much sweetness and treacle. McBain's black-and-white line drawings are just right. Jolly good. (Fiction. 8-12) (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Anne Fine

Anne Fine has been an acknowledged top author in the children's book world since her first book was published in the mid l970s, and has now written more than forty books and won virtually every major award going, including the Carnegie Medal (more than once), the Whitbread Children's Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize and others. The Children's Laureate from 2001-2003, Anne is also very funny and young readers love her lack of hypocrisy about the family and her honesty about how people can behave.She lives in the North-East. 'One of the sharpest and most humorous observers of the human condition writing today for the young' School Librarian 'She is translated into 26 languages and has regularly won every major children's literary award in the land, including the Carnegie Medal twice and the Whitbread Children's Novel award twice ... There are few more influential, or more unfailingly intelligent, authors at work' Scotsman 'A subversively wicked gift for exploring family tensions' Independent

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