'Red-haired Percival, a belligerent nine-year-old, is sent in desperation to Billabong by his aunt and uncle, who’ve been having a hard time minding him whist his parents travel overseas.
'Percival, who hates his name and his hair, sure that the world is unkind and always laughing at him, remains an unhappy nuisance. Stealing a bottle of brown wool dye he likes his new hair colour … that is, until it dries! Embarrassed, he dreads facing the Lintons, but amazingly Jim is kind and takes him to Norah, who lives with Wally nearby in Little Billabong, and they set about repairing the damage to the boy’s hair and pride. They rename him “Bill”, taking him under their wings, teaching him about the country and animals they love, how to care for everything, even how to ride a horse. Bill is completely won over, proving himself a willing learner and capable little mate.
'Everyone likes young Bill, and they are pleased to have him along on an extended camping trip to explore new country beyond the Billabong boundaries. It is an exciting time for all, but a very worrying one when Bill goes missing for several days on an unexpected and difficult adventure of his own involving the Walker family.' (Publication summary)