Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Men

I'm not sure how this has happened, but my kids are growing up. Today I'll be registering Kid1 for 7th grade and Kid2 for 2nd. It hits me that I am no longer the mother of small children.

A casuality of my children's refusal to remain in preschool is my complete set of the Mr. Men and Little Miss Books. Good thing my children finally have a cousin--a cousin who will turn one on Thursday. The set will head out to California and to a new reader.

The Mr. Men books are not perfect. Many of them suffer from a high too-many-words-per-picture ratio. Many of them are a tad didactic for my tastes. My inner feminist recoils from the Mr. versus Miss Characters chosen. (For a complete list, check wikipedia here.) But, still. There's something about the Mr. Men books that appeals to our inner preschooler. Maybe it's the choosing which Mr. or Miss you are--finding your place among the personalities.

My personal favorite Mr. book is cheerful Mr. Messy. Doesn't he look happy in his chaos? If you remember the story, Mr. Messy is transformed in the end--into a shiny, smooth pink dot. I was never convinced Mr. Messy's makeover was happy or successful, but, still, Mr. Messy makes me smile. He just looks like trouble. Fun Trouble.

(Although certain people liked to compare me to Little Miss Bossy. Why, I have no idea. I remain offended.)

Another reason I suspect preschoolers like the Mr. Men books is because of the village. When Mr. Nosey, for example, can't stay out of the business of others, the village works together to teach him a lesson. Everyone knows everyone else, and that's comforting to preschoolers, if a bit claustrophobic for their parents. Mr. Nosey, I think, is the best written of the Mr. Men books.

In the end, I'll miss the Mr. Men books. I certainly prefer them to another series of books preschoolers love despite my best intentions to convince them otherwise. (Yes, I do hold a longstanding grudge against a family of bears with annoying first names. I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me.)

Which are your favorite Mr. Men or Little Miss books and why?