REVIEW: Mr. Men and Little Miss Books

Really great. Much better than I expected!

I got these two boxed sets recently to add to our library at the Cambridge Academy. However, before I could use them with our students my granddaughter got her hands on them and insisted I read them all to her first -they are now her favorite books by far.

I’ve turned into a big fan too. I’ll run through what I think of each set briefly, then talk about how they might be used in a program.

The Mr Men My Complete Collection box contains 47 paperback Mr Men books in a very cool box.

The books are a bit hit and miss, but most of them are really entertaining.

My personal favourites are Mr. Tickle, Mr. Greedy, and the surprise hit Mr. Dizzy. We loved Mr. Dizzy because it contained several riddles aimed at young children, and Alyssa was thrilled to be able to answer them.

In fact, all the Mr. Men and Little Miss books are aimed at children, introducing slightly more adult vocabulary and frequently speaking directly to the reader, encouraging them to interact with the books. They also contain little moral lessons, but this is not too overwhelming.

The Little Miss My Complete Collection is similar, consisting of 35 paperback Little Miss books.

To be honest, I was a bit worried these would be very dated, or sexist. So far that has not been the case. We’ve only read half a dozen of these, but already I’ve found a couple I love: Little Miss Magic (where Mr. Tickle’s arms get shrunk) and Little Miss Hug.

In fact, I think the Little Miss books might even be better, because they tend to feature other characters and integrate them into the stories. Somehow they work really well.

From an ER library perspective, word counts and YLs for both the Mr Men and Little Miss books are in the Tadoku Kanzen Guide (with just a couple of exceptions for each box -the newest books). There is no audio, but I am planning to record our own -this would be a ‘two birds with one stone’ situation, as I could then give a copy to Alyssa too 🙂

The books are all YL1.5 or so, and 500-800 words, with simple stories and occasionally challenging vocabulary or grammar. The language is slightly old-fashioned, and some of the character names don’t mean what I originally thought they meant. Mr. Dizzy, for example, is actually stupid rather than off-balance, and Mr. Mean is stingy rather than bad-natured.

Here are a couple of pages to show the kind of language used:

Still, for the beautiful artwork and the wonderful stories, I really recommend this series. I can’t wait to introduce them to our students, and am even looking forward to making the audio for each one.

Does anyone else have these books? Anything to add?

Ben – pretty sure we had an old LP of Mr Men stories read by Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army). Maybe 3 stories per side? Don’t know if they still exist out there anywhere or if any more we’re ever recorded.


That would be cool! Certainly better than me doing the voices… I can only do a couple and then I forget which character goes with which voice 🙁

Thanks for posting. Always on the look out for more readers.

Would like to know more details about the sentence structures used and vocabulary. If it seems interesting for yourself and your grandchild, whom I am just guessing has English ability greater than your average young EFL student in Japan, how accessible are these books to beginning elementary-aged students in once-a-week lesson situations? Pretty much all texts I’ve seen aimed at native-speaking children are unaccessible to children here unless they have the equivalent of at least a few years of English. Maybe a couple of photographs of pages or a brief explanation would suffice?

Good point! I’m planning to use these with junior high school students who have done a year or two of our extensive reading program, ie read at least 100,000 words of easy English. You’d have to be really selective to use them with younger kids -some of the books might work and others almost definitely wouldn’t.

Alyssa’s four and she can figure out a lot of English from context -she seems to be able to follow the stories well enough to explain them to her mummy afterwards 🙂

Added a couple of photos of the inside of the books to the post. Thanks for the advice!


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