Wild animals take the place of Millie during and after dinnertime, until her caregiver offers an incentive to become human again.
A speech bubble coming from a character offstage says, “Millie, stop playing with your green beans.” But on the table is a robin, with a worm in its mouth, who replies, “I’m not Millie.” The back and forth continues, with various table and post-dinner directives on the verso matched by denials from a beaver, a hippo, an alligator, a cat, a kangaroo, and more (notably, never a monkey). The animal variations are cleverly matched with the child’s naughty behavior: It’s a tortoise when Millie’s accused of “dawdling”; a koala climbing the lamp says, “Sounds like you’re really frustrated with this Millie person.” The back-and-forth text using both sides of the spread creates an enjoyable rhythm, with anticipation of the next scene building to a silly conclusion in which Millie eagerly reverts back to human form—a brown-skinned girl—in exchange for a treat that’s just for her. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations make the animals seem quite at home inside while the oversized font for the adult’s speech implies the frustration we don’t need to see, keeping readers firmly on Millie’s side.
Bribery be darned, this irresistible book begs to be shared. (Picture book. 2-7)