Definitely aimed at children a year or two younger than more sophisticated pre-schoolers, the Max and Millie series from Usborne uses authentic syntax (“Millie play too”; “Millie want car”) and simple, familiar scenarios to introduce some fairly basic notions of good habits and manners. There’s nothing original about the story: two friends at day-care spot a new, exciting toy and, after the inevitable row over ownership, are shown how to share by ‘the nice nursery lady’ – but the dialogue, actions, and progression of feelings are all presented with an uncommon understanding of the thought processes of the intended audience. There is no judgement of Max and Millie’s emotional responses; their behaviour is perfectly natural, it is implied, whereas the ability to compromise needs to be learned.
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