British author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves started the Mr Men children's book series in 1971 with the introduction of Mr Tickle. In 1981, the same author expanded the series to include female characters which he called Little Miss. The first Little Miss book was Little Miss Bossy which was released in 1981. After Roger Hargreaves passed away in 1988, his son Adam Hargreaves took over writing and publishing new Mr Men and Little Miss books and has been doing so ever since. There have been 49 Mr Men and 38 Little Miss books published. The series has been published in over 28 countries and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The books have been popular for decades, beloved by children for their large block lettering, simple storylines and cheerful illustrations.
Adam Hargreaves. Penguin.
In May 2018 a study was released claiming that the Mr Men and Little Miss books were out of date and contained gender stereotypes. The study found that the Mr Men books contained on an average an extra 12 words compared to the Little Miss Books and that the female characters often needed saving by the male characters.
It is true that some of the earlier Mr Men and Little Miss books are a little bit outdated now, but that's to be expected with a series that is over 40 years old. These books were written in another era. I don't think people should stop reading them just because they're politically incorrect now. If you find something in these books offensive, stop reading and start a discussion with your child about it.
For me, personally, the biggest issue I have with these books is the quality of the writing. Maybe I'm just nit-picking, these are sweet and simple stories meant for small children, but when you read them out loud as an adult you can't help but notice that these stories are repetitive, have a terrible narrative flow, and sometimes make little sense. The last one I read, Mr Skinny, was so bad I had to put it down for a moment and think to myself "Do I want to keep reading this?"
Adam Hargreaves. Penguin.
Little Miss Inventor is the 38th Little Miss Book. It came out in March 2018 to celebrate International Women's Day. It was the first Little Miss book to be released since 2016. Little Miss Inventor was designed to give the series a new modern look. The new character was developed to challenge gender stereotypes and to encourage girls to follow a career in science, technology, maths or engineering.
Little Miss Inventor is an "intelligent, ingenious and inventive" scientist who is round and yellow and wears glasses and has pencils and screw drivers sticking out of her green hair. She adores reading and inventing things for herself and her friends. Normally, Little Miss Inventor is full of ideas, but then she gets given a challenge that leaves her stumped. She gets asked to make a birthday present for Mr Rude. What could she make Mr Rude that would make him happy?
This book was such an improvement over previous Mr Men and Little Miss books. It was fresh and modern and helped to reinvent the Little Miss brand into something that could be more of a positive influence on girls. The book was better written than previous books in the series as well. It had a clear three act structure and a plot that makes sense. I really enjoyed it. If the brand continues in this direction I'm curious what new character they will come up with next.
Why? Little Miss Inventor is the 36th Little Miss Book in the Mr Men and Little Miss series. She was introduced in March 2018 to make the series more modern and to provide girls with a positive role model to coincide with International Women’s Day.