Release Date: May 2019

Illustrated by: Kirrili Lonergan
Published by: EK Books

When Billy finally gets invited into Dad’s shed, Billy thinks they’ll be working together on a building project. Soon Billy discovers he’s only going to be his dad’s assistant. It seems Dad has underestimated Billy’s talent and now it’s time for Billy to show him what he can do, and ultimately what they can do together!Teachers NotesBuy Book Now!


The premise of Up to Something certainly resonated with me, and I am sure it will with many kids. Dad reckons Billy is too young to build, and relegates him to sweeping - NOT what Billy had in mind when they agreed to work together on a billy cart for the big race. Instead Billy creates his own cart, thereby making Dad realise that they can, indeed, work together.

Lonergan’s illustrations are perfect for the story and provide lots of gentle humour and subtext. I loved that Billy wears his own version of safety goggles - his snorkelling goggles - and that his own billy cart appears utterly achievable and child-built.

This heart-warming story will appeal to both kids and parents. It might even remind some dads of the joys of co-building! It makes a great makerspace resource for schools and a lovely story to read aloud. ∼ Susan Stephenson - The Book Chook

Katrina McKelveyThis is a fantastic book that reminds parents to listen to their children and work with them on projects rather than taking over, after all, this is one of the best ways to teach them things, including how to use tools. The illustrations are fun, showing how a billy cart can be made from all sorts of things, though I wonder how Billy’s mum felt about her washing trolley being pulled apart! A great picture book that will be enjoyed by the whole family. ∼ Read For Fun

I liked the sound of this book because I thought that both father and son would have different ideas for a racing car, and they did! I liked how the father's feelings, that Billy didn't have the right skills, were displayed. These were accurate, and I'm sure a lot of people can relate to feeling disappointed they aren't seen as being old enough or skilled enough to help with a project, but as Billy's dad discovers, lack of skills/knowledge doesn't mean that Billy should only do the sweeping.

Illustrations are vital for a great picture book, and Billy's tale is no exception. I loved the watercolour effects which used realistic colours for Billy, his dad, and their dog, who gets into a bit of mischief while they are working on their project. Pet antics always make me smile! ∼ Nayu’s Reading Corner

Billy’s story is that of so many youngsters - wanting to get in and be like their dads but being assigned to the Sidelines - that it will resonate with young readers who are more interested in making and doing than watching. Lonergan’s gentle illustrations that are rich in detail echo the relationship between Billy and his dad offering a story that could be a lesson for dads about not underestimating the talents and skills of their offspring.

From a STEM perspective there is plenty of scope to explore creating plans from billycarts, but if readers look carefully at the elements of Billy’s cart they might be encouraged to look at everyday objects differently. What else could a laundry basket or an old pair of roller skates become? Lots of scope for creative thinking embedded in a story that is just a joy to read in itself. Barbara Braxton - The Bottom Shelf

Readers young and old are sure to recognise dad’s pre-occupied, slightly selfish and over-protective behaviour and will empathise with Billy’s disappointment. Not to be deterred, the resourceful son shows creativity of thought and practical skills as he quietly constructs his own cart using left-over pieces of timber and discarded items from their backyard. I like Lonergan’s portrayals of Billy’s irrepressible enthusiasm as he bends (not breaks) dad’s rules concerning tool handling. The story gives readers encouraging resources for bridging play and construction and rejoices in recycling fun and inventiveness. Liz Anelli - Reading Time

Katrina McKelvey in Up to Something has crafted a gentle, heart-warming homily based on working together, sharing, teaching and learning to create something special, to build special memories that last a lifetime. Perfect for reading together and perfect to remind parents that children are capable of achieving great things, even though they may not be perfect, when they work together as a team. A lovely tale to share and discuss. ∼ Janet Mawdesley - Blue Wolf reviews

Firstly, how great is it to see a father and son book? There really isn't enough books like this that explore relationships between parents and young children. This book is really about how young children are so often underestimated by the adults around them. Billy is keen to learn by working with his father, but his father only wants him to pass him things - so passively interact.

Younger kids would like this one, my son was keen on the cart itself. I would be using this as a STEM introduction - perhaps planning it around Father's Day and having students design a matchbox (shoe box if you want larger) go-kart for homework (those without a father could ask their uncle, older brother, or other significant male). The go cart could then be constructed at the school. To make it more challenging adding a recycling element would expand the task into the science curriculum. Great story for the classroom (kindergarten to grade 2) and home. ∼ Miss Jenny - Miss Jenny’s Classroom

A wonderful picture book about one aspect of a father son relationship and although the two featured characters are father and son it could be father and daughter or mother and son/daughter. The book runs through the relationship between child and father and reflects on what the child, Billy, learns from his dad and his determination to help his dad in a big meaningful way and along the way there’s a lot of recycling going on. A good lesson in today’s wasteful world.

The 32 pages of the book are adorned with detailed artistic pictures by Kirrili Lonergan giving an additional dimension to the tale. I love the pictures for being simply drawn but with detail and special beauty all at the same time. This is an ideal book for DAD’S to read with children on Father’s Day, it tops my list of book’s for dads on Father’s Day. ∼ Phil Robinson - blogger

Kids Book Review (UK) – Best Father’s Day Picture Books 2019

Up to Something serves as an ideal reminder on Father’s Day that there’s more to being a dad than simply being around. Lonergan’s use of loosely shaped, muted watercolor and pencil in her illustrations complements the story. She’s also employed newspaper and what looks like sheet music as a substitute for wood, producing an added dimension to the art that plays into the book’s theme of imagination, recycling and invention. Clearly being present as a parent is what matters and McKelvey’s picture book hits that nail on the head. Goodreads with Ronna

It’s fun being Dad’s assistant but imagine what can be achieved if Billy and Dad work together? Bonding and satisfaction are themes in this entertaining book. Margaret Hamilton - Pinerolo

These two amazing ladies smashed it out of the park on their Dandelions collaboration. Up to Something is the second offering from this talented duo and hopefully won't be the last. Katrina McKelvey's heart-warming storytelling partnered with Kirrili's original and entertaining illustrations is the perfect combination for this story that touches on sharing, togetherness, acceptance and a parent/child bond. ∼ Georgie Donaghey - Creative Kids Tales

I don’t quite exactly know what it was about this book, but I loved it so much. It’s just one of those simple stories that’s got just the right amount of heartwarming and I totally dug the illustrations which were mostly watercolour. There’s little features of each that are decorated with collage newspaper print. It’s just super cute and beautiful. So a total 10/10 from me. ∼ - Kate Simpson - One More Page Podcast (Episode 33)

Many children will be able to relate to this story, I can see them nodding their heads, yep my dad does that. Perhaps after reading this story adults will see the benefits that come with stepping back a little and trusting that the young ones can too be creative if given the space and encouragement to do so. Jackie Hosking - Pass It On

This is a delightful children’s book that at face value is the story of a father and son making a billycart together - but more deeply is about how most children have a creativity and ability that is often underestimated by the adults around them, When Billy is given only boring tasks to ‘help’ his Dad build a billycart, he decides to build one of his own. The rustic-style illustrations incorporating a recycled paper look have plenty to attract little eyes, while children will love both Billy’s creation, and what happens when he and Dad properly work together. ∼ Gail Barnsley - The Daily Telegraph