Sunday, February 19, 2012


The eldest sits mesmerized each night when I read our latest library find.  The child would have me read chapter after chapter, but this reader needs to take a breath.  Saying Milly-Molly-Mandy an up-teen number of times can really wind a reader.  Whew!  . . . Thank goodness each chapter is a story in and of itself - complete with "Once upon a time . . ."  However, the kids seem enchanted by that repetitive name.

Welcome to the world of Joyce Lankester Brisley's creation!  Best I can gather, Brisley was an English author writing about cottage childhood in the English countryside during the 1920s. 

Meet Milly-Molly-Mandy (short! for Millicent Margaret Amanda) and her friends Billy Blunt and Susan -- along with her extended family -- in the twenty-one tales collected in The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook and published in 1928.

Frankly, Brisley's stories are quite simplistic, especially compared to our technologically chaos induced enhanced society.  And that's where I think the charm must lie.  It seems that the kids are mesmerized precisely because Brisley's tales speak to that independent, industrious, curious nature welling deep within them.  In reading about Milly-Molly-Mandy's adventures, kids get a glimpse into the spirit of discovery that speaks to their souls.

Honestly, the publishers (Kingfisher) sum it up best:
The stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy and her family and friends have charmed generations of children since they first appeared in 1925. This collection of twenty-one classic tales about this resourceful and thoughtful little girl reflect with accuracy the dilemmas and challenges of a child's world. Young children today will love to hear how Milly-Molly-Mandy decides to spend her first penny, looks after a hedgehog, and spends her first night away from home. These timeless stories are perfect for reading aloud, for older children to read by themselves, or as a story before bedtime, and will bring back many happy memories for many parents and grandparents. The book's endpaper feature a two-page map of Milly-Molly-Mandy's village complete with drawings of cottages, fields, streets, and shops making it easy for children to follow Milly-Molly-Mandy from place to place.

So readers, check out the book and tell me what you think.  What do your kids think?  Are you familiar with Brisley's stories, or was this as new to you as it was to me?  I'd especially love to hear from my readers hailing from or living in England.


  1. I was fortunate my mother had kept her MMM books from her childhood and so I treasured the stories too. I adored the maps and illustrations. My mother loved her attic bedroom!

  2. I had some of them read to me, but then my father quickly moved on to his half-read and half-storyteller told by heart rendition of The Hobbit and that was me hooked. :)