Mr. Men Little Miss books stand the test of time (silly, gorgeous, backwards)

“I remember them as fun and sweet little books, and they certainly reflect the life of the kid reading them or the parent reading them to them, but it’s really so gendered,” Lisa Von Drasek said. , curator of the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature at the University of Minnesota. “The gendered female stuff for Little Miss and the gendered male stuff for Mr. Men could all be Mx. You could have a female Mx and a male Mx. What better way to celebrate than to reflect the present and include all children? “

In a possible nod to such concerns, Little Miss Inventor, an engineer, was featured in 2018. Earlier this year, an online competition was held to name new characters, and Mr. Calm and Little Miss Brave have won. Their books were published in September.

“Little Miss Brave and Mr. Calm aren’t necessarily stereotypes,” said Casey Nugent, associate publishing director at Penguin Random House, the series’ US publisher. “It means that girls can be brave and strong, and boys can relax and meditate. There is a growing tradition in these books of going against the norm over time. “

In October, Endeavor Content, the production arm of entertainment and sports conglomerate Endeavor, struck a deal with Sanrio to create a Mr. Men Little Miss television series.

“The events of the past two years have really highlighted for us how much young children, now more than ever, need a way to better understand themselves and their feelings,” said Tamara Rothenberg, vice -Senior President at Endeavor. “We see Mr. Men Little Miss as an absolutely amazing way to make that understanding and conversation easier with a fun and playful branding. “

Adam Hargreaves keeps the original “Mr. Tickle” locked in a drawer in his studio. It is written with Magic Marker on cardboard, the same size as today’s books, and bound with duct tape. All the characters in the show, he said, his father is best played by Mr. Silly.

“If you have a character like Mr. Grumpy or Little Miss Naughty, there’s a comeuppance at the end. There’s kind of a little moral or lesson learned from the book, but I don’t think that’s the main idea behind them, ”he said. “It’s about entertaining and entertaining children. “

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