BOOK RE­PORT MIL­LIE THE MOUSE DEER

Cen­ter­ing on the theme ‘It’s fun to be clever’, Mil­lie the Mouse Deer is a se­ries of sto­ries about the ad­ven­tures of Mil­lie and her friends. TOM Kids talks to kids to find out if the three books are worth a read

Time Out Malaysia Kids - - Culture - Au­thors Daniel Regis Brown and Robert Kan­ner Il­lus­tra­tions by In­spi­dea Price RM19.90. Avail­able at se­lected MPH Book­stores and MPH On­line.

Meet Dot­tie the lively fruit dove, Hai the in­tel­li­gent box tur­tle, Duke the naughty lit­tle monkey and Bashir the gen­tle wa­ter buf­falo. Along­side Mil­lie the clever mouse deer, they face a se­ries of chal­lenges that draw upon Malaysian cul­ture. Robert Kan­ner, the au­thor, in­tro­duces themes like fam­ily, friend­ship and help­ing one an­other in a way that is up­beat and re­lat­able for chil­dren. Ac­cord­ing to MPH, the rec­om­mended age range for the sto­ries is 4-9 but there is an age range of 3-7 printed in­side the cov­ers. It seems like an am­bi­tious task to get a three- or four– year-old to un­der­stand the long, com­plex sen­tences in th­ese books in our opin­ion. How­ever, the sto­ries them­selves could be too sim­ple to hold the at­ten­tion of older kids. Ul­ti­mately, we think that Mil­lie may have a ‘need to win’ com­plex go­ing on but if the kids like it, then so be it.

Chi­nese New Year

For Chi­nese New Year, Mil­lie takes a trip down­river to the Chi­nese Vil­lage to buy a spe­cial dish for the cel­e­bra­tion. How­ever, a se­ries of events stops her from reach­ing home on time to join her friends. Dev­as­tated, she is then left to fig­ure out a way to get back so that she doesn’t miss her own party. Thank­fully, Hai comes to her res­cue and brings Mil­lie back just in time for the party. The story ends on a happy note as the five friends stay up to watch the fire­works. Dan­ish (4 years old) was ex­cited by the story and wanted to know what was go­ing to hap­pen next. He also liked the il­lus­tra­tions very much and asked that the book be read to him the next day.

Fes­ti­val of Kites

‘Fes­ti­val of Kites’ re­volves around an an­nual kite com­pe­ti­tion held in Mil­lie’s vil­lage. The big­hearted mouse deer plans to win the con­test with her friends by con­struct­ing the most elab­o­rate kite the vil­lage has ever seen. While Kan­ner man­ages to cre­ate per­son­able char­ac­ters, per­haps he makes the as­sump­tion that read­ers re­li­giously fol­low his se­ries. There are too many char­ac­ters and lit­tle means of in­tro­duc­tion which can make things a lit­tle con­fus­ing for new read­ers. When Mil­lie’s friends waltz into the scene for the first time, An­drea (6 years old), face scrunched up with con­fu­sion, asks, ‘Who are Dot­tie, Hai and Bashir?’ Nev­er­the­less, An­drea took well to the il­lus­tra­tions by In­spi­dea, adorably plant­ing kisses upon the pages de­pict­ing her favourite char­ac­ters.

The Curry Puff Chal­lenge

Mil­lie takes part in the World’s Best Curry Puff Con­test and wins, only to find out that she has to make 1,000 curry puffs in two days for an event. With the help of her trusty pals, they come up with a smart plan to pull it off. This book was an en­joy­able read and fairly easy to read, said Rhi­anna (8 years old). Even David (9 years old) said that the story was quite an adventure and that it was read­able. How­ever, some thought oth­er­wise: Abbey (5 years old) men­tioned that the story was a tad too long and she lost in­ter­est af­ter a while. It also wasn’t in­ter­est­ing enough to cap­ture and hold the at­ten­tion of Jay­den (7 years old), who grad­u­ally lost in­ter­est in the story.

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