Millie Fierce

Millie Fierce141268607Millie Fierce

Jane Manning, Author and Illustrator

Philomel Books, Fiction, August 2012

Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up

Themes:  Feeling left out, Behavior, Self-acceptance, Self-esteem

Opening/Synopsis“Millie was too short to be tall, too quiet to be loud, and to plain to be fancy.  When she spoke at show-and-tell, hardly anyone listened.  When she walked into a room hardly anyone looked up.”  One day Millie is drawing a flower with chalk on the sidewalk, when three girls from her school walk over her flower until nothing is left but a big smudge.   “I’m not a smudge,” she said.  Millie is tired of not being noticed and comes up with a plan.    She frizzes her hair, sharpens her nails, stomps, and growls.  Her behavior becomes obnoxious and wild so people will notice her.  She paints the dog’s face blue, scratches the blackboard with her nails, pulls the buds off her neighbor’s flowers, and dumps jelly beans all over the classroom floor.  The kids at school notice Millie now, but she doesn’t receive the reaction she hoped for.  Millie wishes she were invisible again.  Perhaps being fierce isn’t the best way to get noticed.

What I like about this book:  You can’t help but love Millie and feel her pain.  What child hasn’t felt invisible and left out.  No child wants to feel like a smudge.   Jane Manning has written a fun and important story about how far a little girl will go to get attention.  This is a great lesson that will stay with children for a long time.  Being mean doesn’t mean kids will like you.  Kids will definitely identify with Millie.   Although Millie’s behavior is extreme, it’s a very funny book because of her creative  and outrageous character.   It also teaches without preaching.  Manning’s illustrations are vibrant and colorful and capture Millie’s expressive behavior to a tee.  Manning says that “Millie Fierce must have been rattling around inside me for a long time.”  “I remember feeling like Millie on many different occasions when I was a kid – like I wasn’t being seen, or heard, or considered.”   She has illustrated dozens of books.

Resources:  Great discussion book for the classroom.  Ask kids if they ever feel like Millie and to share situations  when they have felt invisible and left out.  Do they feel sad, hurt or mad?   How did they handle the situation?  What advice would they give Millie?   Have kids write a letter to Millie, or draw an exaggerated self-portrait of themselves that shows their sad, angry or wild side.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

39 thoughts on “Millie Fierce

  1. I’d like to read this Pat. I think it is a terrific topic. What happens to Millie? Does she need to be noticed by everyone, or does she just need one special friend? Great PPBF choice!


    • It is a terrific topic — one we can all identify with. In the beginning she feels totally invisible. She finally has enough and decides that the only way kids will notice her is if she becomes outrageous and fierce, which gets her into trouble at the end. Then she really wishes she was invsible again. There is a satisfying resolution.


  2. I LOVE Millie!! That cover is great! I hope that she figures it all out in the end. It’s so hard being a kid sometimes! I’m anxious to check this out and see how it turns out! Thanks for sharing!


    • I think there are times both children and adults feel invisible, so it is a good discussion book with a child. It’s also very funny, to make the point. Regarding the 20-year-olds, they are in their own zone and desperately trying to be noticed. Can always count on you to add an interesting point.


  3. This is a universal theme. Many kids now a days do anything to get attention and will identify with this book. Maybe if read as a read aloud book when young they can learn to be good when they are in the difficult teens. Thanks for sharing this improtant book. 🙂


  4. Happy New Year, Pat! What a wonderful story to start PPBF 2013 with! I love the theme..yes, many of us truly understand what it feels like to be ‘invisible’…and kids will love hearing how the mc tried to get attention.:) She is so outrageous that kids will recognize that there are ‘better’ ways to be noticed. A great story to read with a child who is having problems getting attention,


  5. This sounds wonderful, Pat, and addresses such an important topic with kids, one we really don’t have well represented on the list so far so I’m really glad you chose this book! Thanks for a great recommendation!


    • Susanna, I’m happy you enjoyed the selection. This book was very different, but one that children definitely can relate to — even adults. I think we all know what it feels like to be invisible.


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