Joyce Lankester Brisley Bibliography Maker

Sweet, simple stories, this is how you can describe the Milly Molly Mandy books. Set in the English countryside of the 1930s or so, Milly Molly Mandy is a little girl with a long name, who lives with her extended family in a cottage with a thatched roof. All her small adventures may seem quaint by today’s standards, such as growing mustard and cress, making a hide out, going blackberry picking, but it is almost The Good Life, how nice things could be away from computers and cars, and our ‘want, want, need, need’ society.

Joyce Lankester Brisley was born in 1896 and lived in London; however she frequently visited the countryside, where she took inspiration for her most famous character. She started earning money from illustrating when she was sixteen, and the first publishers of the M M M stories was The Christian Science Monitor in 1925, which sounds more like an academic paper than a publisher of children’s books. However, the format in which we today know the books was published three years later by Harraps, and Joyce went on to produce six collections of Milly Molly Mandy stories, the last one to appear in 1967.

The best thing about the Milly Molly Mandy books is that at the start of each book there is a large picture map of the village she lives in, so you can trace her journeys with your finger. In each subsequent book, the village changes a little, just as it would in real life, which is a great touch to look out for. The line illustrations inside the book effortlessly capture the essence of characters, with larger pictures full of detail and smaller, thoughtful studies in amongst the words.

The front cover says ‘Milly-Molly-Mandy stories, told and drawn by Joyce Lankester Brisley’. I love that – ‘told’. And each small adventure is told exactly as a child would see it, from the names of people (little-friend-Susan, Miss Muggins’s Jilly) to the descriptions of the village. The stories reinforce values such as friendship, of helping out, of responsibilities and of fun.

I was also delighted to read that Shirley Hughes wrote the foreword to a recent (2001) collection of Milly Molly Mandy stories, and described how much she loved them too. She went on to say how through reading the Milly Molly Mandy books, that she learnt the importance of building a complete picture of where her characters (such as Alfie) live and that her daughter went on to be the most recent illustrator of current editions of Milly Molly Mandy. What a fab full circle!


Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley is loved by new readers and old friends alike.The enchanting and classic adventures of a little country girl.The Milly-Molly-Mandy stories are perfect for reading aloud. They have been loved and shared for over 80 years with their timeless sense of fun and beautiful detail.Milly-Molly-Mandy lives in a tiny village in the heart of the countryside. She is always busy doing things, and whether she is earning money to give a party, minding the village shop, having a picnic or going sledging, you're sure to have fun when Milly-Molly-Mandy's around!The adventures of this lively little girl and her chums little-friend-Susan and Billy Blunt first appeared over eighty years ago and they have been delighting children ever since. 'Simple, satisfying stories' - Shirley HughesJoyce Lankester Brisley (1896 - 1978) wrote and drew books from an early age; she had her first fairy story published in a children's paper at the age of thirteen. She studied at art school and, when she was twenty, had pictures hung in the Royal Academy. However, she enjoyed writing and illustrating stories best, and the Milly-Molly-Mandy series deservedly became her most well-loved and famous creation.
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Product details

  • 6-8
  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 122 x 192 x 10mm | 117.94g
  • 25 Jan 1990
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • black and white line
  • 0140305238
  • 9780140305234
  • 13,160
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