Kitty Griffin

Billy Butterbean

Here is part of a new picture book manuscript

Here’s a knotty question. Do you know your knots? Knots? Yes, knots. This story takes place back in the early 1700s, way before the states united and way back when wooden ships sailed the oceans and knot knowing was very important.

This is the story of how Billy Butterbean learned to be knotty.


“So Billy,” Pappy said, “you want to be a seaman.”
“Some day I want to be captain of my own ship,” Billy said.
“Then practice your knots, especially your hitches.” Pappy took up his gear. “I’m off to sail away. Give wide berth to that bully, Fulton Pulley and try not to let your tongue tie up when you see Ivy Vine. I’m sure she’s taken a shine to you. Always remember, you’re a Butterbean and Butterbeans make things better. Just ask the men I cook for.”


After Pappy’s ship sailed, Billy practiced tying knots every night. And every day Billy Butterbean put three coils of rope on his right shoulder, a big ball of sturdy twine in his left pocket, fixed his tri-cornered hat on his head, and set out to walk the island to see who might need something made better. Each time he was hopeful his hands wouldn’t get sweaty when someone was watching.

One sunny morning he saw just who needed one of his new knots, Mrs. Posh. He strode up to her door and knocked.

“Not another knot, Billy,” Mrs. Posh said. “Remember the last time.”

“My gosh, Mrs. Posh, have you taken a look at your wash? It’s almost hanging on the ground,” Billy said. “This new knot is perfect for hoisting things up.” Billy wiped his hands on his breeches. With a twist and turn, a yank and tug, Billy used his rope to hoist up Mrs. Posh’s wash. He got ready to tie it tight. But Billy felt his hands get clammy.

Swish-whoosh, along came a wind. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS?


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