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Literature / Milly, Molly

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"We may look different, but we feel the same"
Milly, Molly is a series of New Zealand books written by Gill Pittar for children between the ages of four and eight. The stories relate the adventures of two little girls from different ethnic backgrounds (with their multi-cultural friends), and promote the acceptance of diversity and the learning of life skills.

The stories deal with the kinds of questions and trials that children face every day–and offer understanding in such matters as honesty, respect for others, difference, tenacity, exercise, cooperation, respect for nature, bullying, stranger danger, forgiveness, trustworthiness, responsibility, loyalty, loss and grief–and many other areas that are challenging to young children.

The books were inspired by a double-ended doll created in 1995 by Gill Pittar to promote tolerance and communication. Following the success of the dolls, she began writing books about the characters with the first book published in 2000.

Milly, Molly books have since been published in at least 100 countries and translated into 40 languages.

An animated TV series based on the books was produced in 2006, with a second season in early 2008. The full series is available on YouTube.


In 2021, the book series was relaunched with the introduction of a new character, an Asian girl named Lily, due to the books' high popularity in China.

Provides examples of:

  • Absent Animal Companion: The animated version usually has all pets stick around, but in "Billy Boy and Daffodil", Miss Blythe's budgie, that she gets to replace her dead budgie Jock, is never seen in later episodes.
  • Acrofatic: Junior Joe, a boy in the girls' class, started out as fat and unfit, but then he took up sports and became slim. However, he regained the weight but remained athletic.
  • Action Girl: Milly and Meg are both go-getters. Molly is a bit timid, but she's also quite an action girl.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Billy Boy
    • Biddy Bid
    • B. B. Brown
    • Junior Joe
  • Alliterative Title
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Alf's dad died, but we don't know why his mom's not around.
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  • An Aesop: Nearly every episode has one. The books were meant to teach morals, and the show was based on the books, but a few episodes of the show don't have morals.
  • Animal Lover:
    • Both girls love animals, both wild and tame, and often try to help animals.
    • Harry seems to like animals: he owns two mice and before he got them, he was sad about not wanting a pet and would've been happy with any pet.
    • John Oddbottom likes animals too, running an impromptu animal shelter.
  • Asleep in Class: In "Magic Muffins", Humphrey becomes sleepy and falls asleep in class due to skipping breakfast.
  • Baby Talk: Ella Bella Boo can't talk properly yet and says, "wuv oo" instead of "I love you" among other botched phrases.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In an episode, Milly wishes Molly wasn't able to participate in the class concert so that she wouldn't be busy all of the time practicing. Then Molly gets a sore throat which leads to her losing her voice and Milly feels guilty. Thankfully, Milly's "wish" doesn't come true because Molly's throat gets better in the concert.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Reason why Humphrey and Alf became best friends was because the latter was nice to the former.
  • Berserk Button: Biddy Bid seems generally hard to provoke, but she takes it very personally if someone doesn't heed her advice, even if it's rather mundane advice.
  • Beware of the Nice Ones:
    • B.B. Brown is very nice and friendly, and also smart. However, he is a kleptomaniac. Subverted because he reforms.
    • In some episodes, such as "Aunt Maude is an Alien", Milly and/or Molly have an Out-of-Character Moment where they act mean despite generally being nice.
    • In "Aunt Maude is an Alien", Sophie and Alf laugh at Humphrey.
  • Big Eater: Junior Joe is said to "have the biggest lunches".
  • Birthday Episode: Milly has "Spots and Stripes", in which she turns seven years old, which can also double as a Sick Episode because she unfortunately obtains chicken pox on the same day.
  • Black Comedy: When Milly and Molly were looking for a home for their cats' babies at school, Humphrey tells them: "Put them in a box and throw them to the river". He then tried to explain to them that he was only joking.
  • Butt-Monkey: Aunt Maude becomes this in Ella Bella Boo's first appearance due to the latter's mischievousness, and she ends up sustaining a lot of injuries.
    • Milly's dad seems to suffer from Marmalade being around most of the time, particularly if he's also in a grumpy mood.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Aunt Maude's "Fiddlesticks!!!".
    • Biddy Bid has "Fiddle-faddle" and "A handful of plums will do you good, a bellyful will do you in."
  • Cats Hate Water: Only shown with Marmalade in the episode "Beaky", where she dislikes being splashed in the bath.
  • Chickenpox Episode: In the cartoon series episode "Spots and Stripes", Milly gets chicken pox on her seventh birthday, but has her party anyway. The guests change the theme from stripes to spots to cheer her up.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr Limpy is quite popular with the kids and he also taught Molly how to ride a bike. Grandpa Peg used to be a fun, cool-to-be-around old man too, until his death.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • Biddy Bid is good friends with the girls and she also is a skilled gardener and good joker.
    • Alf's nan is a wise, caring grandmother.
    • Granny Peg was a spry, fun old woman until her death.
  • Character Death:
    • In "Billy Boy and Daffodil", Jock the parrot dies.
    • In "Jimmy's Seeds", Jimmy dies.
    • In "Grandpa's Oak Tree", Grandpa, and eventually, Granny die.
    • "I Love You" starts with Goldie the fish dying.
  • Christmas Episode: "Secret Scarves" focuses on Christmas and the days leading up to it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Humphrey seems to have an obsession with "robot dinosaurs from outer space". Or he tends to use his imagination quite a bit. He also claims that his dog can understand Martian language.
  • Comfort Food: Sophie can cheer herself up by eating chocolate, because she has a Sweet Tooth in general.
  • Comically Serious: Mr Oddbottom has a very deadpan, emotionless manner. At first, this was Played for Drama but when it's revealed that he is a good guy, it gets Played for Laughs more.
  • Conflict Ball:
    • In "Monday", the girls argue over ridiculously minor things such as who had a cat the longest and whether apples or bananas are better.
    • In "Cubby House", the girls argue over what theme their cubby house should be. While arguing and being mad at each other because of that isn't too out of character, deciding to stop being friends because of it is going a bit far.
    • In "Sooty", Molly is jealous of Milly because Chloe invited Milly to her party but not Molly. You'd think she would be glad to have attention when Milly phones and asks to look after the injured cat, but she's still mad.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In the animated series:
    • The episode "Grandpa's Oak Tree" has Grandpa Peg being slow to wake up. Dr. Smiley says that Grandpa is "wearing out" and "may never live to see another winter" and sure enough, he dies in the episode.
    • In "Goodbye, Alf", the farmer is immediately worried when he sees his horse Pepper lying down despite it being the middle of the day, and sure enough, she's somehow caught a serious illness. Alf's grandma makes her better though.
  • Death by Gluttony: Never happens, but Biddy Bid states several times that a bellyful of plums will "do you in".
  • Death of a Child: The book "Jimmy's Seeds" ends up with Jimmy, a boy in the girls' class, dying.
  • Disappeared Dad: Alf's father is not around. In "Different Dads", we find out that it's because he's dead.
  • Disney Death: In "Harry's Mouse", the girls think that Marmalade ate Brian, but it turns out that she didn't.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Alf doesn't wear shoes because he can't afford them.
  • Edible Theme Naming: There are two horses named Salt and Pepper and two cats named Marmalade and Mandarin.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: The town planner's last name is Oddbottom.
  • Everyone Hates Math: Downplayed, the class do find math a bit boring, but don't hate it.
  • Extreme Omni-Goat: Jack's goat Roger eats books.
  • Fake Faint: In the Animated Adaptation, the episode "B.B. Brown" has the eponymous boy share his lunch with the girls. He jokingly warns them that it's contaminated with "boy germs", and Molly takes a bite and pretends to pass out from said germs. B.B. Brown takes a bite of banana and pretends to pass out as well.
  • Feud Episode: Happens to Milly and Molly after they build a cubby house and both of them didn't like each other's ideas on how it should run.
  • First Day of School Episode: The first episode, "Monday", focuses on the girls' first day of school.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Goodbye, Alf", Pepper sneezes. Later on in the episode, she falls sick.
  • Foul Medicine: Downplayed for Maude's cure for a sore throat seen in "Class Concert". Its ingredients are honey, lemon juice, ground ginger, hot water, and garlic, and Milly says, "Urgh!" at the idea of it, prompting Maude to say, "It's not supposed to be tasty!". Molly doesn't seem to have any problem with it though.
  • Free-Range Children: Milly and Molly, despite being only 7. As well as almost all kids, will be shown wandering around the town and even to the outsides of it.
  • Friend to All Living Things:
    • Milly and Molly seem to have animals like them, although Molly is a bit scared of some animals.
    • Zigzagged for Alf. While he certainly likes animals, they sometimes don't automatically like him.
  • Full-Name Basis: When Milly's father addresses Molly's father as "Tom" in "Go Camping", Molly's father replies, "That's Tom Horren."
  • Genki Girl: Ella Bella Boo, Aunt Maude's niece, is very peppy and energetic, as are the title girls.
  • Girls Have Cooties: Humphrey doesn't like to play with girls.
  • Grass Is Greener: In one episode, when Milly and Molly were to travel by balloon to the other side of the mountain, Milly complains about her dutifulness life at home, thinking the life is better on the "other side of the mountain".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Tomcat starts misbehaving as soon as Molly starts taking care of an injured cat whom she calls Sooty and Molly's father believes that it's because Tomcat is jealous.
  • Grossout Fakeout: In the Animated Adaptation, Marmalade the cat knocks over a vase into Milly's dad's chair. When he asks why it's wet, Milly tries to explain, but only gets as far as explaining that Marmalade was responsible before he cringes. She quickly explains that it's just water from a vase.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Aunt Maude would be a female example. Even adults are afraid of her bad humor.
  • Handicapped Badass: When Ellie, a blind girl, arrives to Milly and Molly's class she shows some very developed senses formed as a result of her blindness.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Humphrey eventually quits bullying, and later, even quits making practical jokes.
    • B B Brown quits stealing.
  • Hidden Depths: In "Bad Egg", it's revealed that Humphrey knows a lot about birds.
  • House Husband: Molly's dad stays at home while Molly's mother works. Though it's unknown who handles chores.
  • Hunger Causes Lethargy: In the Animated Adaptation, the episode "Magic Muffins" has Humphrey falling Asleep in Class every morning due to skipping breakfast. They feed him muffins, and he stops falling asleep. Skipping breakfast also gave him Writer's Block, and Miss Blythe cites breakfast as a cure for writers' block, but that's another story.
  • The Hyena: Molly is quite easily amused and Miss Blythe once says that "everything makes her laugh".
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Aunt Maude gets called that by everyone who's not her niece or nephew.
    • Heidi gets called "Heidi Untidy".
  • I Don't Think That's Such a Good Idea: Molly often says variations on this, due to her shyness.
  • Injured Limb Episode:
    • In "Aunt Maude", Aunt Maude breaks her leg.
    • In "Sooty", the girls find a cat with an injured leg and nurse her back to health in Molly's apartment.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Ella Bella Boo says, "funny lady" when Aunt Maude is injured due to being too young to understand.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Humphrey tries occasionally to justify his mean jokes by saying they're "just jokes". The girls often respond with "Well, it wasn't a very funny joke."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Humphrey, Jack, Tom, and Chloe are a bit mean but they're not fully bad.
  • Killed Off for Real: Granny and Grandpa Peg, Goldie and Jock died of old age, and Jimmy died of unknown causes. Neither of them came back.
  • Large Ham: Heidi seems to be quite animated and dramatic when she's telling stories.
  • Lazily Gender-Flipped Name: In the episode "Sweet Pea", the cops are expecting a baby and the dad suggests naming the baby "Albert Roger" because his wife said, "On Albert [Street]? Roger!". When the baby turns out to be a girl, he considers naming her "Albertina Rogerilla". The idea is rejected in favour of "Daisy Rose".
  • Living Crashpad: During the "Heidi Untidy" episode, Molly climbs up a bookshelf but it topples over. She says that she landed on something soft, but it's revealed that is Milly.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": This show features a cat named Tomcat, a skunk named Stinky, a pig named Oink and a dog named Barker.
  • Lost Voice Plot: In "Class Concert", Molly loses her voice and Milly uses Aunt Maude's cure to get it back before the concert.
  • Magic Feather: In "Ride to School Day" Molly doesn't have the confidence to believe that she'll be able to ride her bike without training wheels, until Mr Limpy gives her the medal he won from a bike competition years back.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Alf has a dog named Puddles who pees on things.
    • George has a skunk named Stinky.
    • One of Marmalade and Tom Cat's children is named Tiger because he looks like one.
      • Another is named Mandarin, because she looks like Marmalade and those two words are similar.
      • Another one is called Cappuchino because she lives with a man who works at a cafe.
    • Molly's cat is called Tom Cat. He is...a tomcat. She also has a doll named "Dolly".
    • There's also Wags the dog who wags his tail.
    • "Betelgeuse" focuses on a family of guinea pigs, all with meaningful names that like hearing their names' origins.
    • Salt and Pepper the horses are called that because Salt is white and Pepper is grey.
  • The Medic: There is a doctor named Dr. Smiley who helps whenever someone is sick or injured.
  • Missing Mom: Alf's mother isn't around. Unlike his father, who we know to be dead, we don't know where she is.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: Invoked in "Aunt Maude is an Alien", when, to teach Humphrey a lesson, the girls tell him that Aunt Maude is an alien so he'd buy it and be laughed at.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Milly and Molly, when they provide a dog-walking service in order to save money to get a dollhouse, but they end up walking too many dogs at once. Plus with Marmalade on the loose, all the dogs end up chasing her through the town and causing havoc wherever they go as the girls are desperately trying to stop them. They blame themselves for walking too many dogs and letting Marmalade escape.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: We don't know what the second "B" stands for in "B.B. Brown". Or the first "B" for that matter.
  • Nature Lover: Both of the eponymous girls seem to be Nature Lovers. They love spending time with animals, enjoy going to the forest, and one book has them worrying about the environment.
  • Needlework Is for Old People: Downplayed. The only elder seen doing needlework is Aunt Maude and that only started as a way to keep her entertained while her leg heals (the book in which this happens is called "Milly, Molly, and Aunt Maude" while the TV episode is simply called "Aunt Maude"), specifically she knits blankets. However, when her leg heals, she still likes to knit blankets, and in "Sweet Pea", she extends to knitting baby boots as well.
  • Never Say "Die": While the books were perfectly fine with saying words like "die" (in fact, one outright mentions that the girls' classmate had "died peacefully"), the cartoon, despite having some episodes that were borderline soap-opera-y, only said the word "die" once in "Billy Boy and Daffodil" and another time in "Mr. Limpy's Vase" (and in those cases the death was of a bird and a long time ago respectively). Other episodes avoided it:
    • In "Grandpa's Oak Tree", despite the Pegs both dying in the episode, the closest it got to mentioning death directly is Dr. Smiley telling Grandpa Peg that he may never see another winter. When he dies, Grandma mentions that he "finally wore out", and when Grandma dies, the narrator says that she began her "journey to be with Grandpa once again".
    • In "Goodbye Alf", when Farmer Hegardy's pet horse Pepper has a Soap Opera Disease, there's talk about whether she'll "make it".
    • In "Harry's Mouse", when the girls think that the eponymous mouse Brian was eaten by Milly's cat Marmalade, the narrator mentions that the girls felt sick because they thought that Marmalade had already "found" him.
  • New Baby Episode: The animated series had "Sweat Pea", in which the cops have a baby girl, but don't know what to name her. Milly and Molly babysit for them, and end up naming her Daisy Rose.
  • The Nicknamer: Biddy Bid calls Milly and Molly gooseberries, cherries, peaches and blossoms.
  • Noodle Incident: Mr Limpy has a wonky leg, and he got it because of something, but it's never revealed what.
  • Not Good with People: Aunt Maude is recognized by her great garden and by her ability with plants. But she's so crabby to everyone else that many of her neighbors are afraid of her.
  • Not Me This Time: In "Bad Egg", the girls find an egg on the ground and think Humphrey did it. Humphrey can be mean sometimes, but it turns out that the egg wasn't going to hatch anyway so the parents threw it out.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In the cartoon adaptation of "Grandpa's Oak Tree", Molly is instantly worried when Grandpa, who was normally spry, is lethargic and doesn't laugh at her joke. He turns out to be dying.
  • Out-of-Character Moment:
    • In "Aunt Maude Is an Alien", during the scene with the kids laughing at Humphrey, even Alf, Sophie and Molly laugh at him. Then there's the Milly and Molly spreading rumors behind people's backs plot.
    • In "Cubby House" and "Monday" the girls are much tetchier than usual.
  • Out Sick:
    • In "Aunt Maude", the girls look after Maude's garden while her injured leg recovers.
    • In "Dog Walking Service", Humphrey pays for the eponymous dog walking service because he can't walk Zoldan himself due to chicken pox.
    • Subverted in "Class Concert", where it seems as though Molly won't be able to sing in the concert due to her lost voice, but she gets it back in the nick of time.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Aunt Maude is always grouchy. There are only several moments where she does truly smile, and the others can be surprised at this.
  • Pet the Dog: We find out that Mr Oddbottom is a good guy when it's revealed that he runs an impromptu animal shelter in his backyard.
  • Petty Childhood Grudge: The cartoon adaptation has an episode called "Biddy Bid", which reveals that the rivalling old ladies Maude and Biddy Bid used to be friends as children, but they became enemies when Maude didn't use the fertiliser Biddy Bid recommended, since Biddy Bid has an irrational hatred for people not taking her advice.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Humphrey is the best example, however, he doesn't hate affection because he's male and several male characters are affectionate.
  • Rhyming Names:
    • The titular girls have a friend named Heidi, but because she's a slob, people nickname her Heidi Untidy.
    • There's also Ella Bella Boo, whose first two names share the same phonetics.
  • Rhyming Title: One episode of the cartoon is called "Heidi Untidy".
  • Say My Name: Farmer Heggarty shouts Pepper's name when he finds out she's sick and several characters have shouted the cats' names when they misbehave.
  • Scary Science Words: In the cartoon version, one episode, titled "Investigate", shows a feral rabbit eating Aunt Maude's lettuce. Mr. Oddbottom, the Comically Serious town planner, takes the rabbit away to a place called "Enclosure 211-B". The girls, due to the enclosure's academic-sounding name, think it's a place where the rabbit will be experimented on, put down or similar, but it turns out to just be a place where it can live in captivity.
  • Serious Business: Gardening to Aunt Maude and plums to Biddy Bid. They both make a big deal out of them.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: John Oddbottom the town planner uses very big words and refers to animals by their Latin names.
  • Ship Tease: In "Biddy Bid", Molly jokingly says Humphrey is Milly's boyfriend, which Milly doesn't find funny at all.
  • Shrinking Violet: Molly is quite shy and Sophie's even shier.
  • Sick Episode: Several.
    • In "Spots and Stripes", Milly gets chicken pox.
    • Humphrey gets chicken pox as a background event in "Dog Walking Service".
    • Pepper gets a serious fever in "Goodbye, Alf".
    • Aunt Maude and the girls get measles in "Biddy Bid". Thankfully, the girls recover, but Aunt Maude is still a bit sick at the end.
    • Milly, Molly, and several others get colds in "Aunt Maude", to the point of being hospitalized.
  • Slipping into Stink: The episode "Cats Alive", has Milly's clumsy father trip and land in the litter box. Unfortunately, he doesn't like cats, so this situation just makes him all the more impatient for her to find homes for their cat's kittens.
  • Smelly Skunk: In "National Pet Day", George has a pet skunk named Stinky, who sprays Humphrey. Twice.
  • Spoiler Opening: The intro is conformed by many clips of the show, so, the last ones reveals vital information of the ending of two episodes.
  • State Visit: In the book "The Queen's Visit", Queen Elizabeth II goes to visit the unnamed Australian townnote  the protagonists live in. Miss Blythe's class hurriedly clean up the entire town.
  • Stellar Name: Betelgeuse the guinea pig was named after the star.
  • Sticky Fingers: B.B. Brown, a new classmate in Milly and Molly's class, used to like stealing. Luckily, this is also a case of Heel–Face Turn.
  • Surprise Litter of Puppies: In the first episode, Marmalade and Tom Cat have kittens but nobody knew Marmalade was pregnant.
  • Sweet Tooth: Sophie and Miss Blythe both have a sweet tooth.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: In "Junior Joe", Junior Joe becomes slim. In all other books and episodes, he's fat again.
  • Title Sequence: The series' intro is entirely comprised of episode clips from the first series.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: A mild example with Milly and Molly; the former likes going on wild adventures while the latter prefers being a princess.
  • Toilet Humour: There are jokes about dogs peeing on things and a joke about Milly's dad falling into cat litter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Humphrey taunting Farmer Hegarty's bull Beefy, with him even running inside his pen. He finally realizes his mistake when the bull is about to charge.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Chocolate to Sophie, apples to Meg and Milly, oranges to George, carrots to Jack, ice cream to Miss Blythe, fish to Mr. Limpy, bananas to Molly.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: When this normally lighthearted series got dark, it got really dark.
    • In "Grandpa's Oak Tree", the old couple both die and there is drama focusing on a sacred tree being possibly cut down.
    • In "Jimmy's Seeds", Jimmy the boy dies.
    • In "Goodbye, Alf", Alf and his nan almost move out and Pepper gets seriously ill.
    • In "Wags", Wags gets kidnapped by a couple who don't feed him properly. Oink the pig gets kidnapped too in "Oink", but it's downplayed as he does get fed properly.
  • Urine Trouble: Alf looks after a stray dog called Puddles. The name says it all.
  • Very Special Episode: In some of the darker books, such as "Jimmy's Seeds" which focuses on the Death of a Child, the moral is a lot darker than the main show. The animated series averts this for the most part.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: When Humphrey falls Asleep in Class in "Magic Muffins", he says, "I didn't do it" upon waking up.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Aunt Maude and Biddy Bid, although they do become friends again.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Molly is afraid of bulls and snarly dogs. She used to be afraid of horses and the ferry too but outgrew those fears.
    • Chloe is afraid of sleeping away from home.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Humphrey, in the beginning. Not precisely strikes but in one episode was seen pushing a girl and throwing things to her. The second time he pushes her, she gets hurt. Luckily, he does have a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant:
    • Zigzagged in "Beaky". Beaky is referred to as male until s/he and his/her mate have ducklings, where upon the girls assume s/he's female. However, it could have been the mate who had the ducklings.
    • In "Harry's Mouse", Brioni is thought to be "another Brian" until she and Brian have babies.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Milly Molly


Mr. Oddbottom

John Oddbottom, the serious council man, tends to say big words.

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Example of:

Main / SesquipedalianLoquaciousness

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