Thursday 4 November 2021

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia

Mr Men Little Miss in Australia by Roger Hargreaves (Penguin Random House) HB ISBN 9781761044342

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

In picture book format, characters developed by Roger Hargreaves such as Mr Topsy Turvey, Mr Lazy, Mr Jelly, Miss Dizzy, and others head to the land down-under. There they become typical tourists, climbing the Harbour Bridge for views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. From Sydney they travel to Tasmania and see unique animals including the Tasmanian devil. ‘Miss Scary had a lot in common with him!’ Off then they go to Melbourne where Mr Silly had entered in the Melbourne Cup horse race but being Mr Silly he ‘could not do things sensibly’ (and instead rides a camel, not a horse). Other places the small men and women go are the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles, Adelaide, and along the Great Australian Bight across the Nullarbor Desert to Perth. They go on a bush-tucker walk with indigenous people and fly to Darwin from where they go on an excursion to Kakadu National Park. Other places they visit are The Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, and the Red Centre where they swim in a billabong and sleep under the desert stars.

There is a cast of many characters most of whom would be familiar to children raised with the Mr Men and Little Miss books. As the child reads the book, he or she is getting a simple lesson in Australian geography. The story finishes abruptly with a camel race in Alice Springs with Mr Silly riding on a kangaroo. The last line reads, ‘What a silly billy!’

Hargreaves’ illustrations are familiar, with brightly coloured characters with lots of white space throughout the book. The text is simple and in large, easy-to-read font. The book should have appeal to readers aged 3+ years.

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