Cover image for Bill in a china shop
Bill in a china shop
Weaver, Katie McAllaster.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury Children's Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
After Bill the bull accidentally destroys much of the contents of a china shop, three old ladies help him acquire the teacup he had hoped to buy.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 73913.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Bill the bull, who loves to collect china, finally finds a china shop without a "keep out" sign directed at himself. But he soon finds out that he is not quite as welcome as he had hoped, and in his worry, he breaks nearly everything in the store, much to the slimy shopkeeper's chagrin. But three gray-haired ladies totter in and save the day by paying for the damage and the little cup that Bill so desperately wanted and they all become fast friends. A delightful rhyming picture book illustrated with intricate detail and Victorian charm that celebrates a triumph over prejudice.

Author Notes

Katie McAllaster Weaver lives in northern California. This is her first book for children.

Illustrator: Tim Raglin lives in Independence, Kansas. He has illustrated a number of wonderful books for children including The Wolf Who Cried Boy , a recent Children's Book of the Month Club Selection.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. First-time author Weaver has written an ode to a bulky bull possessing the soul of a Renaissance poet. When first encountered, Bill is looking for a very delicate china cup to complete his collection. Alas, he's forbidden to enter one china shop after another. Finally, he finds one with no restrictions, and his excitement at actually being allowed in causes a chain of disastrous events that leaves the shop in a shambles. Written in verse, the story explores how assumptions can become self-fulfilling prophecy and ultimately trigger calamitous consequences. In the end, it is the kindness of strangers that rescues the mortified bovine, and, being the gracious host that he is, Bill invites his new lady friends for tea, served, of course, in china cups. Though Weaver's tale is charming enough, it's Raglin's Victorian-style pictures (especially of dapper Bill with his top hat and walking stick) that bring this book to life. --Terry Glover Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

First-time author Weaver whips up a rollicking rhyme featuring a bull named Bill. Hardly a garden-variety bovine, Bill is a most dapper Victorian gentleman who "felt a certain thrilling chill/ each time he saw a china shop/ the teacups made his heart flip-flop." Most shops post prohibitive signs ("Bulls keep out"), but one day he spies a store without onealong with a must-have teacup. Bill manages not to knock anything over until startled by a sneering clerk, and then disaster strikes, with predictable results. Weaver's rhyming couplets propel the action ("Frightened by the jarring sound of china crashing to the ground, he stumbled toward some figurines and smashed them into smithereens"), while Raglin's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations dryly evoke Victorian notions of propriety, from the meticulous cross-hatching on a morning-suited Bill's herringbone trousers to the fussy ferns that adorn his over-decorated abode. Accident-prone children (and what children are not?) may find this outing just their cup of tea. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-An elegantly dressed bull carefully enters a china shop and shows why the phrase upon which the title plays is so apt. "Frightened by the jarring sound/of china crashing to the ground,/he stumbled toward some figurines/and smashed them into smithereens." A sneering clerk cannot get Bill out fast enough, but when three ladies enter the store, they take pity on the animal and scold the man. They feel sorry for Bill, who is obviously upset, but it's not totally convincing that they would side with him after all of the destruction he has caused. Still, this twist makes for a pleasing ending as the bull gets to host his own tea party, with the women as his guests. The story is slight, though the rhymed text flows smoothly. It's the pen-and-ink watercolors that inject strong doses of humor. Bill's bulging body contrasts with his delicately small hooves, and his tan-and-white head stands out against the grays and blacks of his fine clothing. The bovine's facial expressions perfectly capture his carefulness, his fear as he tries to avoid disaster, and his dismay when things fall apart around him. The humans are enjoyable caricatures, but Bill is the star of the show, and even kids not familiar with the clich? will grin at this bull who wants to be dainty.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.