The Mr Men & Little Miss Collection, written by the legendary Roger Hargreaves, have always been a fond favourite of mine since I was a young boy. They were the first books I started to read in school and they are still ones that I love to pick up and read (for my nephew and niece, promise!). Although the writing style is simple and direct, the humour and personality traits that come with each character are incredible, a lot of fun and unforgettable.
The stories within the collection have certainly stood the test of time and one that has remained recognisable to all of us. There is a lot more that we can learn from the stories though… In addition to the fun narrative, there are hidden messages and lessons that are incorporated within the tales, as Todd at The Spaghetti Agency in Warwick has already mentioned:
“The Mr Men books all told a story, but in each one was a lesson, a lesson so subliminal that most children didn’t notice… but it still stuck.”
So how could they be beneficial to our younger generation, by bringing them into the classroom?
“The style of writing is short, simple and concise.”
One of the best things about the Mr Men and Little Miss series is that the style in which the stories are written is simple and to the point. This means that there is nothing complicated about them, which makes them a great “first read” for pupils. Teaching children to read can be quite challenging as it can come with stress and pressure that the young pupils may feel. I remember being terrified by the concept of reading, escalated by the fact that I didn’t know how to. The simple, direct approach to story writing that Hargreaves adopted reduces the stress levels for the pupils, allowing them to enjoy the exercise more, without the added pressure. As the pupils will start enjoying the activity of reading, you will find that they will become more keen to pick another one up, thus building up their reading and literacy skills.
“Each character is different, but relatable.”
As I am sure you already know, each character is named after what represents their personalities. The books go deeper than that though, they teach that it is “okay to be who you are”. They make readers aware that you should embrace who you are yourself. Whether you are as loud as Mr Noisy, moody like Mr Grumpy or a talker like Little Miss Chatterbox, it is important to love yourself. The compassion that we should all have towards each other shines throughout the books too. Using the interaction between other characters within the narrative teaches us how important it is to not only accept ourselves, but also appreciate the different traits that others possess. Working towards self-acceptance and respect for others is important from a young age and after all, the World would be boring if everybody was the same!
“The books teach us the importance of helping each other.”
Extending from self-acceptance and compassion towards others, the books also teach us the importance of helping each other and how paramount selfless acts can be. The examples being that Little Miss Chatterbox ensures that nobody feels lonely and Mr Tickle using his long arms to rescue cats from trees. Although two very different characters, the stories represent that everybody has a worth and that it is important to aid those who need your personal skills, as an individual. The morale of each story often also portrays how important it is to work as a team, together, which is important in life as you grow up.
“There is no reason for any conflict.”
Although there are situations where the Mr Men and Little Miss community need a helping hand, or where they are faced with problems, the community of Dillydale is neutral. There is no religion, sexuality or stereotypes that any of the characters are referred or associated to. This decreases the chance of any difference in opinion, thus creating a neutral ground of acceptance that children can adapt to. As there is no reason for any discussion or judgment, the amount of arguments that are likely to happen in class will decrease. The “problems” that are faced by the Mr Men and Little Miss community are all solved by them getting together, using their personal strengths and creating team work. This creates a happier World that young children will want to be part of as they grow up.
Image credit: MrMen
So what can the Mr Men and Little Miss Book series offer us in the classroom? The books are drawn to self-acceptance, compassion for others and they all encourage a peaceful, happy life. Through these wonderful, short and sweet stories, the World that is created is one that everyone will want to be part of. With the use of great, humorous writing the books teach us morals and teach us to embrace others as well as ourselves. They are easy to read and the characters are timeless. As they brace you for what is to come in adulthood, they will always be loved as you grow older (trust me).
Do you remember reading Mr Men and Little Miss in class? Let us know what you thought of them in the comments below!