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Article  •  5 May 2023


Everything you need to know about Jamie Oliver’s new children’s book

Check out some common questions about ‘Billy and the Giant Adventure’.

One pinch of adventure, a dash of friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and a HUGE spoonful of magic . . . Jamie Oliver, bestselling author and internationally renowned chef, delivers the perfect recipe for a page-turning children's fiction debut!

'Billy and the Giant Adventure' book cover.

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Read on to more about Billy and the Giant Adventure.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is Billy & The Giant Adventure for?

Jamie has written this book for children aged 7-11. Although adults will also enjoy reading this too. (There are some fun 1980s references in there!)

How long did it take Jamie to write it?

From Petal and Buddy’s bedtime stories to fully-fledged children’s book, it took Jamie four years.

Where did the inspiration come from?

When they were younger, Jamie’s children Petal and Buddy would ask him to tell them a bedtime story from his head. To make sure he knew where he left off the night before (children have excellent memories – adults, not so much!), he would record the stories on a dictaphone – and before he knew it, he’d come up with the storyline for Billy & The Giant Adventure.

Did Jamie create the book for those with dyslexia in mind?

Very much so. Being dyslexic himself, Jamie knows how difficult it can be to read books, so he, alongside his publisher, carefully chose the font to make sure the text was as clear as possible, and that the illustrations were beautiful and eye-catching to keep children’s attention. Then, to help those who love stories but find reading difficult, he worked hard to create an incredible audiobook that’s as fun, silly and engaging as possible. It really is a rip-roaring listen!

How did his dyslexia affect the creative writing process?

Jamie finds the physical act of putting pen to paper tricky, so he approached the book in a slightly different way – recording his stories on a dictaphone and working with editors to write them up. He was engaged in every step of the process, and even though it has been challenging because of his dyslexia, it’s also encouraged Jamie to find ways around barriers and think really creatively. 

Why the audiobook?

It was really important to Jamie to make this book as accessible to everyone as possible, and that meant making it available to children who, like him, find reading hard. He has put everything into making the audiobook as engaging and fun and full of bells and whistles as possible. And it’s turned out to be the most entertaining and engaging listening experience!

Did Jamie really read the whole book for the audiobook?

Yes he did! Not gonna lie, it was a challenge for him, but he was up for it and completed it in three days.

Who provides the voices for the audiobook?

The audiobook is very much a family affair! Jools (Mama Boona), Buddy (Jesse) and River (Autumn) all make an appearance, as well as Jamie’s best mates Dexter Fletcher (Grandad) and Jason Flemyng (Bilfred). Then he had amazing actors Kadeem Ramsay (Jimmy) and Amy Wren (Chief Mirren), and musicians Tamzene Allison-Power (Anna) and Benny Mails (Andy) play their parts too.

Is there music in the audiobook?

Yes! Jamie wrote and sang on the Grow song, which Bilfred sings (yes, Jason Flemyng actually singing), which he created with his music producer friend Tobie Tripp.

Why did Jamie want to write a book for children?

When Jamie realised he’d come up with a storyline that was fun and full of adventure, and also highlighted some important life lessons and themes (living in harmony with nature; realising we all have our part to play; the importance of finding your own way in life; celebrating our uniqueness), he wanted to bring that to everyone.

What does Jamie hope children will take away from the book?

That you’re perfect just the way you are! That we each have a responsibility to look after the world – and that you’re never too young to play your part.

I want to make the recipes from the book! Where can I find them?

Jamie’s team pulled them together here, as well as some super-fun videos for you to follow.

How did you find the illustrator Monica Armino?

Jamie worked with his brilliant Puffin team, who found Monica. For Jamie, her illustrations just jumped off the page, so it was one of the easiest decisions of the book-making process to get her on board. And, we think you’ll agree, her illustrations really help to bring the story to life. We’re in awe of Monica!

How do I get my hands on the audiobook?

You can access the audiobook from your usual audio retailer.

What is Jamie’s favourite crisp flavour?

Salt and vinegar Hula Hoops!


Want more? Click here to meet the characters. 

This article has been adapted from jamieoliver.com.

Feature Title

Billy and the Giant Adventure
One pinch of adventure, a dash of friendship, a sprinkle of mystery and a HUGE spoonful of magic . . . Jamie Oliver, bestselling author and internationally renowned chef, delivers the perfect recipe for a page-turning children's fiction debut!
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