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For Mr. Hargreaves, it all started when his son Adam asked him what a tickle looked like. Roger Hargreaves drew a round orange figure with long bendy arms and in 1971 the first book in the Mr Men series, called Mr. Tickle was published in the UK. Over the next fifteen or so years, 49 Mr Men and 42 Little Miss books were published. Each introduced a character and told a short story with a moral lesson in a funny and entertaining way. My four year old and I know them all and each have our own favourite characters and stories.
It was a great discovery to find many of the books for Kindle in exactly the same style and format as the worn paperbacks on her shelf.
Good to Know
Cost and Adverts
Each e-book is priced around £2 each. Most are available included in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Service.
The Kindle App is multi-platform. The books read best on a tablet and the format is not compatible with a Kindle eink eReader.
They are children’s books aimed at children under the age of five and the humour in particular is pitched at 3-4 year olds. The series has been published in over 28 countries in different languages.
Adult Annoyance Factor
The characters are interesting, the stories varied and as an adult who enjoy formulaic fiction, I find them enjoyable to read. As there are such a large variety to choose from, it is wonderful to have the option to choose one book within a series for regular reading instead of having to read the exact same book over and over, which is often the case with preschoolers.
Features and Accessibility
The text is always on the left page in black text against a white background and uses the same font and layout as the paperback books. The text is small, but stretch the screen and it appears in a pop-up box in a larger font against a light yellow background. There is no dynamic resizing and the second font is particularly large, which is a barrier for anyone with a significant visual impairment. There is no sound or voice over.
The books are books in the traditional sense with no movement, no interactive or dynamic elements and accessible to anyone with photophobia or severe simulation sickness that experience nausea with simulated movement. They are an electronic copy of original books with the same text, the same illustrations, the same colours and the same layout.
There are no audio features and all books are accessible to anyone with a hearing impairment or hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound and noise).
Input and Touch
The book is paged by swiping horizontally across the screen. Tapping on the left or right does not work, but swiping does not have to be a large movement, just moving on fingertip about half a cm will do the job.
Ease of Use
The books are easy to understand and with the illustrations, easy to enjoy. They are “read to me” books rather than “read yourself” books for preschoolers who have not learned how to read yet, with each page containing 10+ lines of text. Each story introduces one character and follows a single story arc, making them ideal entertainment with little opportunity for confusion.
Children who thrive on logic, take things literally and prefer fiction to reflect reality, may not enjoy some of the stories. For example: Mr. Bump ends with a moral lesson “And if you ever bump yourself you know what to do, don’t you? Go and eat an apple picked by Mr Bump, and then you won’t feel your bump at all.” At the end of Mr. Bump and this is one of the favourites we read often, I am told every time that eating an apple is not the correct thing to do. If you bump yourself, get a cold pack to put on the bump and also, walking into apple trees to pick apples is not a sensible or sustainable thing to do.
The Mr. Men and Little Miss books are fantastic. They have fun, entertaining and positive stories that appeal to both children and adults alike. I love them for their versatility and celebration of diversity and for portraying more negative characteristics or circumstances in a positive and uplifting way. Positive change is often inflicted on others, for their own good of course, in funny, creative and constructive ways.
Life is not easy for many of these characters – some are sad, others are lonely, some painfully shy and anxious and the world is not always a safe place with people bumping into things, breaking things and having bad dreams. Yet, the worlds they reveal through the stories they tell are always reassuring. Each may have a different lesson to teach, but at the heart of these books there is one clear message – no matter who you are, no matter what failings you think you have, no matter if life doesn’t go well from one minute to the next, it will all be okay because there are things within your power that you can do to make everything better.
Product: Mr Men & Little Miss | Author: Roger Hargreaves | Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac via Kindle App| Genre: Pre-school children’s books | Version: English/UK | Release Date: 2012 |Content Rating: All ages