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
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.