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Dolly Parton’s new children’s book is about standing up to bullies

New book empowers kids to hold fast to their dreams


Being a storyteller isn't something that's limited to a particular medium or method of expression. Dolly Parton has proven this time and again throughout her long and illustrious career. Whether she's telling a tale through words and music, acting, clothing or prose, she has a gift for crafting engaging, relatable stories. Her latest offering is a picture book from Penguin Workshop called "Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Makes It Big."

The story behind 'Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Makes It Big'

For Parton's latest book, she used the theme to one of her songs: "Makin' Fun Ain't Funny." The star of her tale is her big-eared god-dog, Billy the Kid, who dreams of moving to Nashville and having his own country band. In the foreword, Parton revealed the book is informed by the real-life bullying she experienced as a child.

“I am so proud to bring this book and the message it conveys to life,” Parton offered in a statement to the press. “Years back, I wrote a song ‘Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny’ for my children’s album 'I Believe In You.' I wanted kids to understand how harmful bullying can be to someone. When I launched the Doggy Parton line of pet products earlier this year, my god-dog Billy got to be the star of the show. Since he’s a big star now, I knew a story with him at the center could help drive home important messages in a unique way. I hope this is the first of many books with Billy.”

The creative team that brought 'Billy the Kid Makes It Big' to life

While "Billy the Kid Makes It Big" is Parton's story, it took a special team to bring this endearing and important children's book to life. The text for the tale comes from Parton with help from Erica S. Perl. Perl is an accomplished author with several books to her credit, including "The Three Little Guinea Pigs," "When Carrot Met Cookie" and "Truth or Lie: Dogs!" Perl's family includes two rescue dogs, Clover and Penny. When asked about "Billy the Kid Makes It Big," Perl told BestReviews, "It’s a wonderful story that touches on so many elements of Dolly’s life: country music, standing up to bullies and her beloved god-dog, Billy the Kid. I’m excited to see it finding an enthusiastic audience!"

The story was magically illustrated by MacKenzie Haley, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from the University of Dayton. You can find more of her work in books, such as "The Ninja Club Sleepover," Pegasisters Go to Camp" and "Snitchy Witch."

The last crucial team member is Penguin Workshop. Francesco Sedita, President, Penguin Workshop expressed, “Working with Dolly is a true delight, and we’re so happy to adopt her god-dog, Billy the Kid, into the Penguin Workshop family! This story is going to bring joy (and a little bit of country) to so many.”

Best books from Dolly Parton and the 'Billy the Kid Makes It Big' team

"Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Makes It Big"

This picture book is for kids aged four to seven. It was written by Dolly Parton with Erica S. Perl and illustrated by MacKenzie Haley. It's a heartwarming story about finding the courage to stand up to people who make fun of your dreams.

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"Run, Rose, Run"

This #1 bestseller by Dolly Parton and James Patterson is about AnnieLee Keyes, a talented and ambitious performer who's running from a dangerous past. However, to achieve her dreams of stardom means the world might learn her true identity… which could prove fatal. This story is being made into a major motion picture from Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine.

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"Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You"

In this book, Dolly Parton expands upon her University of Tennessee commencement speech. She encourages readers to dream more, learn more, care more and be more. It's a book that was written to help people take charge of their life to create their own future.

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"Coat of Many Colors"

This tender story was written by Dolly Parton and illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes. It tells the tale of a girl who is mocked for wearing a coat that her mother stitched together from an assortment of rags. The book is written for readers aged 2 through 7.

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"Truth or Lie: Dogs!"

If you want to know the truth about dogs, this is the book for you. With its clever Q&A format, "Truth or Lie: Dogs!" encourages readers to think, laugh and learn. It was written by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Michael Slack.

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"The Scariest Kitten in the World"

You've been warned — this is the scariest book ever written. Or not. Kate Messner (author) and MacKenzie Haley (illustrator) have created a delightfully fun page-turner that plays with the idea of anticipation similar to the classic "The Monster at the End of This Book."

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"Power of Invisibility (Super You! #2)"

You're invisible. Now what? This pick-your-path adventure from authors Hena Khan and Andrea Menotti and illustrator Yancey Labat lets you decide your own fate. Will you be a hero or a villain? Only you can make that choice.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

Image credit: Penguin Workshop

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