Friday, August 20, 2010

Mr Men & Little Misses

As I child, I loved pulling Roger Hargreaves' Mr Men books from the shelves in our school library. With the simple, bold and colorful drawings, quirky-natured characters and a subtle humor, they really struck a chord with me. One of the best features were the growing collection of Mr Men on the back cover - and the resultant desire to consume each and every one. Paul has similar childhood experiences.

Apparently, Roger Hargreaves invented his first Mr Men, Mr Tickle, in response to his son's innocent question "What does a tickle look like?" Mr Men was later made into an animated television series narrated by Arthur Lowe (from Dad's Army fame). Very subtle, and very English, the series was very faithful to the books. We have taken great pleasure in reading the Mr Men series to our children - and have even picked up some Mr Men paraphernalia along the way.
Not so well known in the States, we were really excited to discover a Mr Men Show on the Cartoon Network. Paul and I were horrified however, to see what had happened to our childhood heroes: misshapen Mr Men (since when was Mr Strong a triangle?), altered names (Mr Fussy becomes Mr Persnickety), ridiculous accents, and totally fabricated Mr Men. So untrue to the original. What an abomination!

Paul found the original Mr Men and Little Miss television series on DVD and had it sent over from the UK. The kids love it. Each episode is around 7 minutes long - so it maintains their interest. The slower pace means it is a brilliant means of quieting the crazy behavior close to dinner time. The boys have developed sneaky ways of avoiding Mietta's request to watch Mr Bump again, and again, and again...

One day during the summer vacation, a request was made to hold a 'Mr Men' party. I satisfied the desire with a batch of Mr Men cupcakes. I followed this recipe for chocolate cupcakes. I had to substitute plain yoghurt for the sour cream as I didn't have any sour cream. The resultant cakes were super-moist, but didn't have the 'domed' top of a usual cupcake. This was OK though, as it make icing easy!

The kids had to be selective with the characters as I was only going to mix limited colors of icing! The chosen cupcakes were Mr Tickle (sans arms) and Mr Bump - with Mr Happy created from the left-over frosting. Mr Tickle could have arms made from jelly snakes perhaps? We all agreed that it would be fun to make a Mr Messy.

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