29 Apr 2009

Memories of Childhood

Once upon a time, one beautiful summer morning, Milly-Molly-Mandy woke up very early.

She knew it was very early, because Father and mother were not moving (Milly-Molly-Mandy's cot-bed was in one corner of Father's and Mother's room). And she knew it was a beautiful summer morning, because the cracks around the window-blinds were so bright she could hardly look at them.

Milly Molly Mandy, (whose full name was really Millicent Margaret Amanda) knelt up on the foot of her cot-bed and softly lifted one corner of the blind, and peeped out.

And it was the most beautiful, quiet summer morning that ever was.
And so begins one of my favourite books of all time. (Do you know it? Is this starting to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?)

Anyhow, it's called More of Milly-Molly-Mandy, and it's the second of six books about a little girl with a very long name who lived with her Father and Mother and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle and Auntie in a nice white cottage with a thatched roof.

Everybody knows everybody in the village where Milly-Molly-Mandy lives. Everyone is cared for; everyone is happy; eveyone is loved. Milly-Molly-Mandy is clever, sensible, and sweet. Let's just come out and admit it - Milly-Molly-Mandy is just plain nice. Together with her friends, Billy Blunt and Little Friend Susan, Milly-Molly-Mandy has lots of adventures, and lots of fun.

I remember cuddling on my grandmother's knee, hearing the familiar much repeated phrases trip off her tongue in such a delightful way. The books are perfect for reading aloud. They're written simply for children as young as four, and yet they're not trite, and they're not twaddly. My grandmother had read these very same books to my mother many years before. I wonder what she thought as she read them to me? Later I read them to myself. They're perfect first chapter books for emerging readers, with a Lexile somewhere around the mid 400's, I reckon.

We've come a full circle. First I read them to Jemimah, then she read them to me. Now she reads them to herself. I hope that in turn she'll read them to her children - or maybe I will. I like that idea.

There are six Milly-Molly-Mandy books, 'told and drawn' by Joyce Lankester Brisley between 1928 and 1968. The first four are still in print - and have been continually since they were first published. Not bad for a 'minor author' as she often referred to. ..does this make her a major minor author?

In order:

Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories
More of Milly-Molly-Mandy
Further doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy
Milly-Molly-Mandy Again
Milly-Molly-Mandy & Co.
Milly-Molly-Mandy and Billy Blunt

None of the modern versions I've seen contain Brisley's beautiful colour plates. (They make my post look prettier though, don't they!) Be sure to ensure that you purchase a version with the original black and white line drawings, though. They're integral to the story.

Check that your version also has a map of the village inside the front cover. They're simple and clear, but they let you know exactly where each event happens in relation to the all important nice white cottage with the thatched roof. We can't have Milly-Molly-Mandy getting lost now, can we?

The map would be perfect for CM style mapping lessons. The inimitable Ruth Marshall has information on this - and more in her lesson plans for the Milly-Molly-Mandy books. You can access those here.

While you're visiting Ruth's site, be sure to stop a while and browse a bit. It contains a veritable treasure trove of Aussie homeschooling information. Without this lady's amazing website I never would have had the courage to start homeschooling in the first place. She's one amazing mum.

Milly-Molly-Mandy is one amazing little girl too. Don't let your kids miss out of befriending her, will you?

It's good to be sitting still,
And it's good to be running wild,
And it's good to be by yourself alone
Or with another child.

And whether the child's grown up,
Or whether the child is small,
So long as it really is a Child
It doesn't matter at all.

Joyce Lankester Brisley


  1. My girls love Milly Molly Mandy too.
    One of my daughters drew a map of Narnia while we were reading through the series.

  2. Sounds fun! I've never seen it though. Thanks for sharing about it.


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