"This was pretty good for helping little kids to understand a bully," says my ten-year-old Elizabeth. Millie Fierce by Jane Manning is an engaging story of a mild-mannered girl who turned fierce in order to get noticed. It's recommended for ages 3 and up.
There was much discussion among my children about why no one noticed Millie when she was nice ~ about why a little thing like someone walking on her chalk-drawing set her off ~ and about what they would do if they decided to "go fierce" (this devolved into how big a piece of cake they would steal on someone's birthday and how many frosted flowers it would hold and.....you'll just have to read the book to get the connection).
I didn't make this association at first, but Elizabeth thought it was a great book to help younger kids understand why a bully acts mean. She understood it to show that Millie acted meanly because others had treated her meanly. I thought it was neat that she figured out that idea without input from me.
This was a great example of a living idea being passed along from the author to the child's mind (see this post on living books for more info).
Millie Fierce helped me understand better those kids who act out to get attention. I wish there had been a fuller example of how to help such a child. Millie had a turning point where she decided to be nice. Because of her extremely bad behavior before, everyone then noticed her new niceness. But her mildness at the beginning of the book was what made her boring and easily passed over in the first place. Maybe I don't understand child psychology, but I think she might just go unnoticed again before long. Which makes me wonder, "What do kids need exactly in order to not go crazy trying to get attention?" Maybe a big dose of love and some spurring toward unique talents and traits would do the trick.
My kids and I all enjoyed reading this book and looking at the colorful illustrations. It's a compelling story which can lead into several kinds of discussions such as bullying, correct ways to get attention, and how to apologize after one has had a fierce sort of day.
This review is a part of a TLC Book Tour where many bloggers give their opinion of the same book. You can find more reviews of this book here at TLC Book Tours.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.