WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the stories ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Mr. Men and Little Miss by Charles Rodger Hargreaves
Type: Children’s Book Series, Fantasy
Basic Idea: The Mr. Men and Little Miss people are imaginary people that have habits based off their names. These habits can be good or bad, and the habits often teach them a lesson or tell a silly story.
Plots: 3/5 Average: The plots are funny and interesting for children. Some of the stories are meant to teach lessons, but most are just for entertainment. The plots are not extraordinarily unique, but they are cute and good for young children. One of the things that are odd is that even though most of the characters live in different lands, they are always running into each other anyway. The other thing that is a bit strange is that the characters don’t think it is weird when odd things happen, such as running into a wizard or talking to worms. Maybe those things are just normal in their world.
Writing Style: 3½/5 Above Average: The writing style is very easy to read and understand. The books are all well described, though, but they are a bit repetitive in style, especially with certain characters. It would be tiresome for some children, but I think others would enjoy it a lot. The style is good and I think it is unique and enjoyable even if some may find it overdone in certain descriptions.
Graphics: 2/5 Below Average: The graphics are cute, but very simple. They look like fancy stick figure drawings and are not very impressive. They are done well and are not drawn badly, though. Simply, they are not drawn unbearably, just boringly.
Moral: 2½/5 Good and Bad Morals: First I will say this series really follows the Build Up Karma philosophy a lot (You can read about it in Dangerous Ideas). People almost always “get what’s coming to them,” some might say. There are some exceptions to this rule and this is the main reason the series got a lower score for morals.
Some times a character that does things wrong will get punished by being wronged themselves. In Little Miss Trouble Little Miss Trouble spreads rumors that Mr. Small has said nasty things about some people. This causes them to get angry at him so in turn Mr. Small spreads rumors about her and she gets “a taste of your (Little Miss Trouble’s) own medicine” as the book says. I do believe in natural consequences and punishment, but for Mr. Small to do what Little Miss Trouble did to him to prove it was wrong is not right. This teaches children that it is OK to wrong others for what they did to you. God says we’re supposed to forgive others and not retaliate, because he will take care of it for us. Besides that idea the morals have a good intention and teach a good lesson. They often teach the important idea that changes (even when unwanted or unasked for) can be beneficial to us and to others.
Overall: 3/5 Average: I believe children eight and under would enjoy the series best. The only thing I can say I disliked was the way the morals were presented. They were good ideas, but the way they were presented was not very well. In all other ways, I approve of the series and put it as average.
Sexual or Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None
Violence: 2/5 Slightly Violent: The characters do hurt themselves by falling, slipping, or etc. Mr. Nosy gets two nose injuries and when he hears a saw it is hinted he is afraid his nose will get cut off. Mr. Small gets two black eyes in one book from some other characters getting angry and attacking him. In one book Mr. Impossible follows Miss Naughty around and tweaks her nose when she tries to do wrong. In Mr. Grumpy the character steps on Mr. Happy on purpose and threatens to kick him.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 0/5 None
Religious Ideas: 2/5 Suggestive: One book is about Mr. Perfect who is perfect, and we all know no one is perfect but God. Some books have Mr. Impossible, who is a person who in the series seems able to do anything like fly or turn invisible. Mr. Daydream is similar, but he was more focused around imagination, while Mr. Impossible was supposed to be a person “who could do impossible things” and was made more real in the series than Mr. Daydream.
Magic: 3/5 Moderate Fairy Tale-Like Magic: There are at least five books that have wizards. They use magic, have wands, and cast spells. They also travel with magic. There is a giant in at least one book and at least one book has a mermaid. There is a book called Little Miss Magic and in it she can make things happen by telling them to do it. (If she tells water to boil it does, etc.). In one book, Mr. Chatterbox gets a “magic hat” that grows over him when he talks too much. In one book there is an evil “Midnight Tree.” In one book there is a wishing well that grants wishes. None of the magic in the series is really weird or black magic though.
Others: In one book two men give Mr. Messy a bath. (Nothing inappropriate just thought it might bother some people.) In one book a pig is smoking. In another a bird is smoking the picture and is described as “clever.” (Though not called clever because it is smoking, in fact he never writes about it smoking it’s just in the illustration.)
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: If you do not mind fairy tale magic in your entertainment it should be appropriate for all children. The series is very clean and I believe that the only really bothersome moral things would be the religious objections and the one under “Quality” called “Moral.”
Disclaimer: I have read only about 3/4 of the series, so if I missed anything I am sorry. This article may change in the future after more research.