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Walking Lightly (Fleur Beale)

on December 7, 2011
Walking lightly : a story
Walking Lightly by Fleur Beale
Illustrated by Michaela Sangl
Age: 3rd grade
Simply Read Books, 2006
72 pages
Find this book at your local library 

Millie is not like the other kids at school. Although she comes from a rich family, Millie prefers to live simply. The other kids call her weird and Millie is usually left to be by herself at school. When a school trip goes awry, the other students soon realize that there’s more to Millie than they thought, and they found out that her independence and resourcefulness is exactly what they needed.

I like the overall message of the book. It’s about being OK being yourself, even when no one else understands you. It’s about taking pride in your skills and that eventually you will get a chance to use your skills to help others. Millie is a great character. She’s not the popular girl in school, and she’s often the outsider and misunderstood by her peers. Although most 3rd graders might not feel this way until they hit 6th grade. This is a good book about what awaits them during the dreaded tween years of middle school.

The text is very simple, and not very challenging. The pacing of the story is OK, its sort of jumpy. At one point Millie ages a couple of years?

Things went on like that for a month or two, then a year or two.

I do like that this book is interactive. There are pages for kids to jot down their own ideas of what makes up a perfect friend, etc. I also like that it promotes simple living for kids, who tend to get very obsessed with having all the same toys and clothes as their peers. I’m not a fan of the writing, and the plot is very jumpy and filled with holes.

I do like the illustrations, although all the kids kind of look-alike; shaggy hair, thin & tall body shapes. The illustrations fit well with the story, particularly the interactive pages with boxes for the reader to scribble down their thoughts. I would select this book for reluctant readers, or even advanced 2nd graders.

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