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Barry Falls

Pavilion Children's


ISBN: 9781843654674

Price: £ 6.99

Publication date: 4 March 2021

ISBN: 9781843655107

ASIN: 9781843655107

Price: £ 4.99

  Our price: £

Publication date: 4 March 2021

Category: Picture Books

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Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2022.


There once was a boy called Billy McGill
who lived by himself at the top of a hill.
He spent every day in his house all alone
for Billy McGill liked to be on his own. 

But life doesn’t always turn out how you plan it…

One day Billy hears the squeak of a mouse – destroying his perfectly peaceful existence. So he gets a cat to catch the mouse. But the cat and the mouse make friends. So he gets a dog to chase the cat. But they all play together too. So then he gets a bear… then a tiger… and on it goes, until Billy’s house is so filled with characters that he has to move out. Will he find that he still craves peace and quiet, or is it actually quite lovely to have company and friends?

The brilliant second book from Barry Falls is a laugh-out-loud tale of growing chaos, with a lovely message about how it’s good to have friends.


Barry Falls is an illustrator, living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He graduated from Ulster University in 2005 and works for a range of clients in publishing, design and advertising. His clients include The New York Times, Orange, Unicef, NSPCC and The Guardian. He has won multiple awards and lectures in illustration at Ulster University.



'Wonderful play between image and text! Rhythm, rhyme, humour, an invitation to explore and look closely and a lovely message to boot. All very carefully and lovingly put together'

Mat Tobin, education influencer

'What a truly lovely story, fully of delightful characters with lessons for us all to learn.  The story is beautifully told in rhyme that makes the story flow along with pace and humour ... The illustrations are delightful and really bring out the character of each of the animals and people.'

Armadillo Magazine

'[A] beautiful, funny and thoughtfully created picture book which will inspire little ones to embrace life, however hard that sometimes seems, and to relish the rewards of living happily together. With its quirky cast of characters and gorgeous, rhyming story – packed with Falls’ vibrant, highly detailed and colour-soaked illustrations – this is the perfect book to read out loud and help children understand that life is fun… even when it’s not running smoothly!'

Lancashire Evening Post

'There’s much to enjoy about this book. Barry Falls’ quirky illustrations are a wry delight.'

Red Reading Hub

'Ivy finds this heartwarming book really funny and she’s drawn to the bold, brightly coloured illustrations. The rhyme scheme is really tight so it’s an absolute pleasure to read aloud. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve read it at bedtime since it arrived!'

Ivy's Library

'[A] cracking picture book… With brilliant narrative illustrations and catchy rhyming verse, this story is perfect for reading aloud'

School Reading List

'The bright illustrations and rhyming text make this a great tale to share with others'

Storytime Magazine

'The rhymes and the clever and funny illustrations are wonderful entertainment, and the whole is an excellent romp'

Books for Keeps magazine

'We LOVE this book! It’s funny, heartwarming and gorgeously illustrated. A definite winner for us!'

Rosie's Library

'Young readers will delight in Barry Falls’ rich, expressive illustrations that capture the laugh-out-loud storyline and quirky characters ... A delightful read, with repetition and rhyme that is perfect for a read-aloud storytime'

Paper Ren

'[A] cracking picture book… With brilliant narrative illustrations and catchy rhyming verse, this story is perfect for reading aloud'

School Reading List

'The bright illustrations and rhyming text make this a great tale to share with others'

Storytime Magazine

'I absolutely love this book, the illustrations are gorgeous, bright, colourful and fun. And the story is the same!'

Little Bugs Togs

'Barry’s striking, unusual Illustration style carries echoes of Peter Blake and Oliver Jeffers, coupled with the read-again appeal of Dr Seuss’ rhythmic text. The illustrations explode off the page and capture the full spectrum of emotion through clever use of space, colour and characterisation, with many captivating and curious details to draw readers back again and again'

Federation of Children's Book Groups

'Perfect for reading aloud and joining in ... Wonderfully colourful and detailed illustrations throughout ... Has so much to engage youngsters with and develop discussion about what it means to be alone'

Just Imagine

'This is a timely creation… Lockdown has enabled us all to question a whole pile of received ideas… Alone! will prompt young readers to examine their own needs and to resist the normalisation of conventions that simply might not suit them. And the illustrations are absolutely stunning!'

School Reading List

'A message we can all appreciate especially at the moment, Alone is a lovely story to read aloud and share, told with heart and humour'

The Book Activist

'This bouncy, rhyming narrative, filled with rich vocabulary, is a hit here. The very relatable feelings of Billy, coupled with the humour in each new guest’s arrival makes for a wonderful tale, and the illustrations (with a mouse to find on each spread) are, once again, fabulous'

Little Literary Society

'The rhyming text rollicks along with the conviction and pace of Julia Donaldson, while the busy illustrations offer a wealth of detail to attract the eye. Alone is a great book for encouraging friendships and introducing the idea of personal boundaries. More importantly, it is ridiculously fun'

Irish Times

 ‘This is wonderful rhythmic fantastical storytelling, great for reading aloud… In Covid times when meeting friends is restricted, the concept of enjoying being Alone! is especially worth exploring'

The School Librarian