Billy Button Telegram Boy by Sally Nicholls & Sheena Dempsey

My bigger boy is now 4 and it’s noticeable how much his attention span for stories has increased. He still loves all his picture books but recently I’ve noticed during our library visits that he is eager to listen to stories that are longer.

Whilst on the lookout for books that are a bit longer than your average picture book we were sent a copy of Billy Button Telegram Boy, written by Sally Nicholls and illustrated by Sheena Dempsey. Published by Barrington Stoke this book is part of their Little Gems series.


The story introduces us to Billy who is the son of the postmaster, he longs to be a telegram boy and ride a shiny red bike but he isn’t big enough. However, when the regular telegram boy breaks his leg, Billy’s dad eventually concedes and bends the rules so that Billy can stand in.

Billy is kept very busy delivering telegrams all over the village and soon discovers an unlikely love story. Should Billy break the rules of the Post Office to help the course of true love?

The book itself is a perfect size for little hands, it is a lovely book to hold. The font that’s used really stood out to me too; the Little Gems books are created with the help of children and young people so I imagine this choice of font has been well thought out. The pages are cream rather than white which again I think will be a tool to aid independent reading.

The mix of text and illustrations is excellent, pictures are still so important even when a child can read independently as they help to break up the text and consolidate the events of the story. Parts of the story are also told in the illustrations through the telegrams that Billy delivers.

Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations are delightful and endearing. The story is set in the past and the illustrations paint a rosy and nostalgic picture of times gone by. Beautifully detailed, they are a delight to explore and will inspire children to find out more about how things were in the past.


My four year old really loved this book, I read it to him in three sittings and he was hooked! He is growing up in a world where messages are instant and we can talk to people thousands of miles away at the touch of a button so he was really intrigued about how post and messages used to be sent and delivered.

Perfectly in every way for new independent readers or emerging readers and a lovely start to chapter books for my little bookworm.

You can find out more about Sally Nicholls and her other books on her website here.

Sheena Dempsey has a website here where you can see more of her lovely illustrations and children’s books.

Many thanks to Barrington Stoke for sending a copy of Billy Button Telegram Boy for review.

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6 thoughts on “Billy Button Telegram Boy by Sally Nicholls & Sheena Dempsey

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  1. So, I’m wondering if my grandson would have the attention span to sit and listen to a story in 3 parts. Something to try. I think he’d like this book because of the bike. He’s really into bikes atm lol.


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