Books & Literature

Book Review: Mr. Men in Australia, by Roger Hargreaves

HARDBACK PICTURE BOOK: Join the Mr Men and Little Miss on an Australian adventure!

Mr Men and Little Miss characters get into all sorts of interesting trouble as they discover this great continent of ours.

Mr Men and later Little Miss books have been around since 1971. Originally written by Roger Hargreaves, they are now continued by his son Adam since his father’s death in 1988.  Many readers either grew up on the quirky inhabitants of “Misterland” or have read them to their children. We can see them on TV, as merchandise in the shops, and even in books written especially for grownups. Rarely do the Mr Men/Little Miss characters leave their fictional land, but here we have an exciting new offering set in Australia.

This lovely, bigger than usual, hard cover book will not disappoint the fans of Roger Hargreaves. This time the characters decide to do on a holiday “Down Under” or as Mr Topsy Turvey says, “up-over!” He is joined by all the favourites … Mr Wrong, Mr Lazy, Mr Tall, Mr Jelly, Mr Dizzy, Little Miss Scary, Mr Silly, Little Miss Somersault, Mr Tickle, Mr Greedy, Mr Grumpy, Little Miss Sunshine and of course Mr Mean.

The brightly coloured front cover is enticing and gives a small taste of what is to come. The illustrations created by Roger Hargreaves are still immediately recognisable—full of colour with bold black outlines. The frontispiece is very cute as it depicts a picture of Mr Bounce in the pouch of a kangaroo (something a big fan of the series would find amusing). At the back of the book, Mr Greedy is in a floatie eating an ice-cream.

There are many notable books available which take the young reader around Australia, visiting each state or attraction (most notably Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Are We There Yet? by Alison Lester).  It is lovely that overseas authors are also writing about our diverse country.

The characters visit the usual places: Bondi Beach and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, a Tasmanian Devil in Tasmania, a horse race in Melbourne, The Twelve Apostles, a cricket game in Adelaide, the Overland train to Perth , then to Darwin, Cairns, the Gold Coast, the Red Centre, and the Snowy Mountains. They certainly get around. It is always interesting which tourist attractions are chosen to represent our wide and varied country. Thankfully they also meet an Indigenous Australian person and learn about bush tucker and boomerangs.

In Mr. Men in Australia, the characters all get up to their usual mischief, but the idea along the way is that they all have a go, and mistakes are OK. A great lesson for the young person to whom this story is aimed. Children in England and around the world will get a good sense of the diversity of Australia and those children living in Australia will recognise many places or at least the animals depicted.

Although travel stories for children around our great continent have been done before, fans of the Mr Men/ Little Miss series of books will certainly enjoy this new offering and those new to Mr Men will have laugh at their antics and mistakes. This new book would definitely make a lovely gift for any young child or as a gift for a younger overseas relative.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: November 2021
RRP: $16.99

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

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