Billy Bramble and The Great Big Cook Off by Sally Donovan

Billy Bramble and The Great Big Cook Off

Written by Sally Donovan
Illustrated by Kara McHale


Billy Bramble and The Great Big Cook Off by Sally Donovan

Want to know something else about me? I am Billy Bramble: the King, the President and the Emperor of Bad Lucksville. I am the Chief Executive of Bad Luck Limited, the Bad Luck Champion of the World, the Bad Luck Guinness World Record holder and it's all thanks to my invisible dog Gobber. He's my Bringer of Bad Luck. Billy Bramble likes rude words, smelly farts, loud farts and freestyle sneezing but when BAD THINGS happen, his invisible angry dog Gobber barks in his ears, gives him brain mash and breaks things. One day a competition is announced at school - The Great Big Cook Off - can Billy Bramble defeat Gobber and change his epic bad luck? An irreverent story for children aged 8-12 about a less than perfect boy, this book will inspire any child who's ever secretly thought they might be less than perfect too.


Brilliant and thoughtful insight into the mind of an eleven year old and the wonderful power of cooking. -- Lorraine Pascale Poor Billy seems to get everything wrong. However hard he tries, somehow or another things never work out well. And secretly Billy knows why - it's him, there is something wrong with him. Sally Donovan's deeply felt story gives us a glimpse of how hard it is for Billy to keep trying and hoping that things might be different. He seems actively to push away all attempts to help him and the adults struggle to know how to do anything of use. With his tricky dog by his side Billy doesn't know how to be close. Until the Cook Off. The accumulation of the months and years of stubborn care provided by kind adults starts to break through and we see the vulnerable parts of Billy (which have been there all along) begin to emerge.This moving and psychologically sound story encapsulates many key themes expressed by vulnerable children and paints a vivid picture of the seeming impossible dilemmas they may be facing. Compelling for children, this book will also be of great value to adults as through Billy they gain insight into the risks children face when they begin to dare to trust. -- Dr Vivien Norris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist An inspiring read which will encourage children to get cooking in order to make delicious food and also gain confidence in their own abilities. -- Jo Ingleby, BBC Cook of the Year 2015 and Chef in Residence at Redcliffe Children's Centre I like the way Billy has an invisible dog. It is one of the best books I have read. -- Sophie, 13 Billy Bramble is a fantastic book. It gives you an insight into people who may struggle and how their surroundings can influence their behaviours and attitudes. Billy Bramble is a nice boy with an angry, imaginary dog. Together they battle with certain feelings. I believe everyone can learn something from this book, not least that through persisting, eventually, in spite of hardship, you can achieve. -- Coby, 12 I love Billy - he is funny and cool and awesome and I understand him. I think he was very brave for entering the competition. The story made me laugh a lot. -- JB The book shows even if you are different you can achieve. -- Jordan, 14 The story is good. It makes you want to read on. -- Adam, 12 I liked the character of Billy. -- Thomas, 13

About the Author

Sally Donovan is a writer, blogger and commentator on parenting and adoption. She has been awarded British Society of Magazine Editors Business Columnist of the Year, Professional Publishing Association Business Media Columnist of the year and is also author of the classic memoir No Matter What: An Adoptive Family's Story of Hope, Love and Healing and The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting: The Small Stuff, The Big Stuff and The Stuff In Between, both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Kara McHale is a graphic designer and illustrator. She is a proud Northerner, now living in London. Kara has always loved to draw and paint and even won a drawing competition when she was eight years old. She studied fine art and graphic design at university and now never has to get a proper job because she gets paid to design cool things and draw pretty pictures.

More books by this author

Other Formats

Book Info


192 pages


Sally Donovan
More books by Sally Donovan


Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Publication date

21st March 2016



I love Lovereading4kids because I get an opportunity to put my opinion forward and to try new books

Elosie Clarkson – age 11

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

It’s so easy to find the right book for your child. Such an easy-to-use, yet in-depth website. 100% reliable.

Pippa, Jack, Liam & Matthew Wils

I think Lovereading4kids is an amazing company because of the friendly staff and the fabulous chance to read great books before publication.

Adam Graham

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

Writing reviews help the children with their literacy skills and we always read the books together which gives us good quality family time!

Cat Bisland (on behalf of the Bi

I am so pleased to have signed my kids up as they are reading a much wider range of books and even choosing books out of their comfort zone.

Angela East

It is fantastic, you get to read lots of books and you always find something new and amazing in them.

Erica Motoc, age 7

Lovereading 4 schools