Mercer Mayer

02 May
May 2, 2012

Max has a book called I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer that he loves.  I never paid much attention to this book until the past couple months.  He had me read it to him one night, and after that, I noticed that when he would get angry during the day, he would say, ‘I’m so mad mommy!’.  The first time he said that it kind of took me by surprise because I couldn’t believe that he was verbalizing his feelings at 2 years old.  Now he lets us know when he is mad, sad and happy.  If we raise our voices at him, he scolds us and tells us that we made him sad by yelling.  It puts us in check!  For me, it’s a reminder that my tone really affects my children.  That is something that can be taken for granted when you’re tired and your 3 year old is not listening to you and there’s a dog knocking down baby gates and two other toddlers climbing the couch.  It can get hectic around here, and as much as I am conscientious of my tone, I definitely raise it from time to time.  I am not a robot.  I do the best I can.  But thankfully, I have a really cool son who helps me empathize with him by saying how he feels and how a little book taught him to do so.

This book has had some bad reviews because at the end of the story, the boy doesn’t get his way and he packs a bag to run away.  He ends up staying because his friends ask him to play and his mom says yes, so he says he’ll leave another day.  Some parents think that is a bad example to suggest that leaving is an option when you’re unhappy.  And to be honest, it did cross my mind also when we first read the book.  But I guess because Max doesn’t concentrate on that part, I haven’t given it more attention.  If running away does come up, I do want to talk about it because I am the queen of running away.  Or I used to be.  That is something I want to talk to my kids about thoroughly anyways, so maybe the book would be a good way to introduce the subject.  Everybody is different.

Mercer Mayer was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1943.  He started illustrating books in 1966 and started out making picture books without text.  He has published over 300 books since then which I think is amazing!  He is most known for his Little Critter Series and his Little Monster Series.  He has a website that has everything on it from his bio to interactive games, print outs to color, his online store and more.  He’s a pretty funny dude and you can see that by watching the videos of him reading his books to you.  I like the books that I have read, and he has given my son the ability to articulate feelings which makes me a big fan of Mr. Mayer.

Has anyone else read any of his books?

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6 replies
  1. Madeleine says:

    I find it interesting that the book got bad reviews. Why? Because Mercer accurately portrayed feelings that many children have at some time or another–wanting to run away? I suspect that the parents who gave the bad reviews are the type who only want their children reading books that “teach” them safe and right behavior, books that indocrtinate them toward the only happy ending these parents can accept: the perfectly happy family in which the Mom and Dad are shining examples of goodness and the children grow to be the same, no one ever admitting that sometimes things don’t feel right. It is human nature to want to run away from things that don’t feel right. That doesn’t mean the author is teaching kids to run away! I am grateful for authors who help readers–especially children–not to fear the bad stuff. I have always been something of a chicken about the “bad stuff,” so I am grateful for authors who encourage me to be braver. Actually, these writers encourage all of us to be forgiving, and ultimately more loving, of those who disappoint us sometimes. Including our parents!

  2. jess says:

    i love little critter! his books have always been my favorite since i was a kid. :)

  3. Janet Peña says:

    I LOVE these Little Critter Books, I was given a set by my sister-in-law and my son can’t have enough of them. It has also helped my son vocalize about things I thought he would never mind or notice. My son’s favorite book is ‘Just a Mess’ by Mercer Mayer; now he always remembers to put away his toys and when he forgets, he walks into his room and always says, “It’s like Little Critter’s room, just a mess” I love, love, love these books.


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