AGES 9-11: Like his real-life namesake, Billy Bonney is a charming young man with a hair trigger temper and quick reflexes with a .44. But fact and fiction part as the novel traces Billy’s flight from an Arizona train robbery.
Pursued by a posse and by his two former partners in crime, Billy is finally caught by his cousin, Sheriff Willis Monroe. Before Billy meets his inevitable fate, the chase heats up and Taylor, author of the famous children’s novel The Cay, illustrates the manhunt with many details about life on the frontier. Billy the Kid should appeal to its target audience of fourth through sixth graders, though its departure from historical fact may be a bit confusing for fans of the historical Bonney. —Fran Strykowski