August 20, 2012

Millie Fierce--A Review

I was sent a copy of Jane Manning's book Millie Fierce.  The book is about a little girl who is a little shy, a little introverted, and because of that she sometimes gets overlooked by the other kids and some adults.  After some girls are really mean to her (they smear her chalk drawing on purpose) she decides she's had it and becomes "fierce."

But being fierce doesn't work out for her either.  "Fierce" in this book basically translates to ill-behaved.  She steals the birthday boy's piece of cake, for example.

I thought this book was . . . okay.  My children loved it, the illustrations are great, and it led to some really interesting conversations with my kids.  We talked a lot about how poor behavior is not a good way to get attention.  However, we also talked about how some kids are quiet and some kids are louder and we can't overlook people just because they are quiet.

The part I didn't like was that the girls in the beginning were mean to Millie.  I wish she had just been "overlooked" because my kids aren't really familiar with the idea of overlooking other people because they don't put themselves forward as much.  That was a great discussion topic.  That topic kept getting derailed though because my kids thought Millie was justified in her poor behavior because the other kids had been downright mean.  See the different levels of morality there?

Also, I don't like using the word "fierce" as a description of ill-behaved.  That isn't what the word means and I do want my children to be fierce when the situation calls for it.  My brother was awfully fierce when anyone bugged me on the school bus or harassed me at school.  If a boy starts trying something with one of my daughters I want her to be exceptionally fierce.  You get the idea.  I don't want to force my children to be extroverts or noisy, but introverts can and should be fierce when the need arises.  I just thought the book's message could have been more clear cut.  She wasn't noticed, she decided to be naughty to get attention, she did get attention, it was the wrong kind of attention, and she decided to go back to being nice--if overlooked.  But it wasn't that straight forward.

In sum, my kids loved the book and pictures and it led to several really good discussions about all the topics I just wrote about.  However, it wasn't one of my favorites.

{Disclaimer: I received this book for my family for free.  I received no other compensation for this review and all opinions are my own.}


  1. Hi Andrea,
    I came to your blog through a link on the Davis County homeschooling yahoo group. This is my first year doing homeschool (an 11 yr old girl) and it's been so fun to look through your posts. I taught 3rd grade before I had kids so I'm (somewhat) managing the overwhelming feelings of this new chapter in our lives, but I'm trying to learn as much as possible from others before I jump in. I really appreciate being able to peek into your life and see how you're doing things. :) Thank you!

  2. I'm glad that you were able to turn this into a teaching moment for your children.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book fo the tour.