Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House By Libby Gleeson




The first thing that made me pick up this book, was the very-familiar illustrations, done by Freya Blackwood, of The Runaway Hug, another Sunshine Collective favourite. Although from a different author, the story of Clancy and Millie bears some similarity, in that it is a gentle, simple story about every day, real-world issues for children. It’s a sweet read.


Clancy’s family have just moved house. Their old house was small, with a yard and a picket fence. Their new house is a 4-storey terrace, with no real yard to play in and simply enormous rooms.

Clancy’s parents are thrilled with their new house; Clancy isn’t so sure. He misses the cosiness of the old place, the cubbies under the table and the fires in the lounge.

But what does a house need, to become a home? It seems a friendly face can help…


Why I love it:

About 3 months ago, we moved our family from a small, old house to a new, big house. I know for a fact that both our kids really do love the new house, but occasionally they will throw in a comment that shows they are missing the simplicity of the old:

“I miss the old lounge room. I liked the fires and how it was small.”

“Sometimes I miss my old bedroom. It was dark and cosy.”

I understand exactly where they’re coming from; it’s not the house itself, so much, but the memories that were built inside the house and the general feeling of always being near each other.

Clancy and Millie really took me back to our old house and brought back some beautiful memories of my own. It was also a good reminder that the criteria for measuring what’s best, can differ greatly between adults and children.

Perhaps this weekend, we’ll have a family movie night in one of our smaller, cosier rooms.


Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Change
  • Adapting
  • Memories
  • Moving on
  • Acceptance
  • Resilience
  • The concept of what’s ‘best’

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • What do you think is the relationship between the two children on the cover?
  • What is special about the clouds on the cover?
  • How can we tell how high up the children are?
  • What do you think the term ‘very fine’ means?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Why didn’t Clancy like the new house?
  • Which house would you rather live in? Why?
  • When Clancy started playing with Millie, he started to feel happier; why do you think this was?
  • What do you think is the message of this story?
  • Have a look at the very last page, now tell me, what do you think will happen tomorrow?

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