Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley

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Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A delightful introduction to Milly-Molly-Mandy, this is a reissue of 6 of the stories with original illustrations, in a child-friendly format.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0230754980

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Millicent Margaret Amanda (that's Milly-Molly-Mandy to you and me) lives with Father and Mother and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle and Aunty (and Toby the dog) in a nice white cottage with a thatched roof. And do you know, she has all sorts of adventures. She goes out into town alone to fetch things for her extended family, she goes to a concert where she even knows one of the performers, she gets invited to parties in the village hall, and she does it all with the company of Little Friend Susan and Billy Blunt.

I grew up on Milly-Molly-Mandy. So did my mother. And now, so too can a new generation. I was excited to get this book because I knew we didn't have one with this title in either of our collections, but of course the author has been dead for years, so this didn't bring any new stories to us, just some of the old ones in a new compilation. There are six stories in this book, and for the purposes of anyone who knows Milly-Molly-Mandy and has some of her stories already, I'll list them here:

Milly-Molly-Mandy Goes Errands
Milly-Molly-Mandy's Mother Goes Away
Milly-Molly-Mandy Goes To A Concert
Milly-Molly-Mandy And The Golden Wedding
Milly-Molly-Mandy Has A Suprise
Milly-Molly-Mandy Goes To A Party

This is one of 4 books in the new format, and of course the stories won't be replicated within the others, so for those who are new to Milly-Molly-Mandy, it really doesn't matter, except that I will say these are some good ones. I adore Goes Errands and have most of it memorised, and many years later my heart still melts in Goes To A Party when she sees the rabbit with the sad eye and tries so, so hard to win him.

I love these stories because they are set in such a pleasant, simple time, where children go to the shops on their own, take short cuts through fields, run errands for their parents, without any sense that there could be danger lurking. Milly-Molly-Mandy is an only child, and a mere girl at that, but she's far from cosseted and lives an exciting and happy life where joy comes from little things, like being able to stay up late for a special trip out, or having a special party dress made out of a scarf, a handkerchief and some ribbon.

The language of the stories is a little dated, for they were originally written in the 1920s, but that never bothered me as a child and I saw the unnamed village where Milly-Molly-Mandy lived as a mysterious, slightly foreign place, rather than one that only existed what was then 60 years in the past. There is nothing remotely objectionable about the tales, but there's something so intriguing about Milly-Molly-Mandy's life that I credit these tales with being one of the reasons I love reading so much, having hooked me in at age 6. I probably stopped reading them 20 years ago, but revisiting them two decades later they've lost none of the magic.

The newly published set comes with textured covers that are easy for little fingers to grip, and sturdy enough to withstand a little misuse. The original illustrations are preserved, in colour on the cover and black and white inside (all the better for colouring in, you might say). The only thing I wasn't in love with was the font used for the blurb on the back, which I think target readers might struggle with, since the italics, shadow and colour choice don't make for easy reading, and it looks a little blurry to me.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

You wouldn't think they'd go together, but like peanut bitter and jam I rather think they do, so for those who like the sound of Milly-Molly-Mandy I'd also recommend Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus for equally enchanting, if perhaps more unisex, tales.

Buy Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Milly-Molly-Mandy's Family by Joyce Lankester Brisley at Amazon.com.

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