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)