Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War

This is the delightful tale of a brave war hero… who was a goat!

During World War I, a goat named Billy was adopted by a platoon of soldiers and became their loyal mascot.

Billy . . .

  • Trained with the soldiers
  • Was smuggled across the ocean
  • Got snuck into the frontlines in a crate of oranges
  • Ate some secret documents and was imprisoned for treason
  • Got trench foot
  • Head-butted soldiers into a trench, saving their lives
  • Was promoted to the rank of sergeant and came back home a decorated war hero!

This charming true story follows Sergeant Billy from his small prairie town in Saskatchewan to the trenches of World War I and back, through harrowing moments but also moments of camaraderie and celebration. This unforgettable goat and the platoon that loved him will capture your heart!

Themes: military, world war I, service animal, true story, biography, historical

Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat who Went to War
Tundra Books/Penduin Random House, Fall 2019
Story by Mireille Messier
Illustrations by Kass Reich
40 pages
4-10 years old
ISBN : 9-780-73526-442-7
Jacketed hadcover
  • Click here to invite the author to your school to present this book!
  • Click here to order this book!
  • Click here to watch the book trailer!
  • Click here to access the free Discussion Guide (English)
  • Click this link to access a free, French Activity Sheet – Fiche d’activités Sergent Billy


“Messier’s smooth, well-paced text and Reich’s muted gouache illustrations in warlike tones of olive and brown well convey the poignancy and humor of the story.” – KIRKUS REVIEW

“Mireille Messier takes young readers beyond the mud and blood of World War I with her rollicking humanizing tale of a goat and the soldiers who cared for it.” – Canadian Material Review, Highly recommended

“Messier and Reich deserve a medal for their ambitious work.” – Imaginary Elevators

Awards and Distinctions

Winner, Hackmatack Awards in the English non-fiction category (2021-2022)
Winner, OLA Forest of Reading Prix Mélèze Award (French edition) (2020-2021)
Finalist, Shining Willow, Saskatchewan’s Young Readers’ Choice Award, (2021)
Winner, Rocky Mountain Book Award, Alberta’s Young Readers’ Choice Award (2020)
Winner, Comstock Read-Aloud Book Award (2020)
Winner, Christopher Award for best children’s book (2020)



When two siblings go on a treasure hunt, they aren’t sure exactly what kind of treasure they are looking for. What they do know is that treasures are shiny, mysterious and precious. And that all the really good treasures are hidden!

As they explore the forest, their curiosity pays off when they find the biggest, shiniest, most mysterious and precious treasure.

Told exclusively in dialogue, the story encourages readers to look for the small, everyday treasures that surround us. This beautifully illustrated picture book exudes a sense of wonder at the natural world and emphasizes the magical qualities of looking through a child’s eye.

Also available in French as Trésor.

Themes: nature, environment, water, adventure, siblings, treasure hunt, exploration

Endorsments for Treasure:
“Treasure reminds us that although we might not always find what we are looking for, we might discover something even more magical—a connection to nature and our Earth.”
— Autumn Peltier, First Nations Youth Water Advocate

“A wonderful way of rediscovering ancient, life-giving treasures.”
—David Suzuki, Scientist and Broadcaster

Awards and Honours:
2019 Kirkus Best Picture Books
2020 Prix AAOF de littérature jeunesse, finalist (French version)

Reviews for Treasure:
“A gentle exploration, using a child’s words and told at a child’s pace, of a marvelous world.” – Starred review, KIRKUS
Orca Book Publisher, Fall 2019
Story by Mireille Messier
Illustrations by Irene Luxbacher
32 pages
3-8 years old
ISBN : 978-1-45981-734-0
Jacketed hadcover
  • Click here to invite the author to your school to present this book!
  • Click here to purchase this book!



Un frère et une sœur partent à la chasse au trésor sans savoir exactement quel type de trésor ils cherchent. Mais ce dont ils sont sûrs, c’est qu’un trésor c’est brillant, mystérieux et précieux—et que les meilleurs trésors toujours sont difficiles à trouver! “Ça, est-ce que c’est un trésor?”

Une histoire racontée exclusivement en dialogue qui encourage les lecteurs à trouver les petits trésors qui les entourent, tous les jours.

Thématiques : nature, environnement, chasse au trésor, exploration, aventure


Orca Book Publisher, 2019
Texte Mireille Messier
Illustrations Irene Luxbacher
32 pages en couleurs
3 ans et plus
ISBN : 978-1-45982-327-3
Livre couverture rigide

Également disponible en anglais sous le titre Treasure.

  • Invitez l’auteure à présenter ce livre à vos élèves en cliquant ici!
  • Achetez le livre en cliquant ici!

Prix et distinctions


« Avec l’album Trésor, Mireille Messier réenchante notre regard d’enfant et
propose un éveil à la curiosité chez les petits. Son texte soutenu par les superbes illustrations d’Irène Luxbacher nous invite à la rêverie, à prendre le temps d’observer les beautés dont regorge la nature et à faire travailler notre imagination. À mettre entre toutes les mains ! » – Jury, Prix AAOF de littérature jeunesse