What’s Up With Little Critter?

Please tell me I’m not the only parent mildly bothered by Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter character? I was reading “Just Me and My Mom” last night to my two youngest, and the familiar annoyance started resurfacing. Maybe I’ve been around too many real life children that have his quirky traits.

The artwork is adorable, I admit the stories are arguably humorous from an adult perspective…but…

Does this furball really mean well? In the name of helping he loses tickets, in the process of shopping he glowers menacingly at his mother, from his perspective we’re led to believe that he is the ultimate authority on everything.

Except that Mayer cleverly lets him get away with it every time, in as cute a way as possible.

I think what really bothers me about these books is the fact that so many parents raise little critters of their own, idolizing their every move…so the kid grows up thinking that the universe really does revolve around them.

Everyone LOVES the Little Critter books. Am I just over-analyzing them…like I did the Veggie Tale’s “You Are His Cheeseburger” song?

4 thoughts on “What’s Up With Little Critter?”

  1. I like your discernment. I feel the same way about Tom Sawyer. A classical American story, Tom is rebellious, sneaky, a liar and a number of other negative character traits. I’m a believer in the observation, “What you ARE speaks so loud that the world (and your kids) can’t hear what you say”. And just possibly what Tom is, speaks so loudly that our kids don’t hear what we say…about personal morality, honesty, etc.

  2. Thank you!! I feel the same about Tom Sawyer. And so many of today’s cartoon characters! I remember when the Wild Thornberries were popular, the older sister on the show said something mean to the little sister and that was enough for me (to my mil’s disgust!)…and later on, my mil had to agree with me that the bad attitude of even one character can ruin a show…or book.
    Why expose our kids to drivel like that and call it a classic?
    I’m so glad you commented, Deb!

  3. My mother didn’t allow Disney’s Aladin in our house growing up because the main character is a theif and a liar. She didn’t think a title character should be that way.

    Of course, we may all have been sinners at one time, but there has to be some sign of repentance– with Aladin there never really is.

    As for critter, I think the only one that we’ve read is “All by Myself.” In it, the critter does a lot of things by himself, but a lot of them he doesn’t do well.

    It certainly is an interesting topic– what will you children receive from reading books that focus the world on them (especially when everyone seems to do that to kids anyway).

  4. I purchased “Just Me and My Mom” for myself as an adult. I was trying to understand why I adored Little Critter as a child. It occurred to me that I could relate to Little Critter as a child because he was the victim of what must have felt to him to be injustice or cruel fate. Yet, no matter the degree of chastisement via scowls from his mother and his own self-reproach for his bumbling actions, Critter’s mother always expressed [a mother’s] love and forgiveness.

    I’d recommend that the Little Critter and Curious George series be introduced to children who show exceptional intellectual gifts. Little Critter represents the developing child’s view of failure, misunderstanding, and ultimately, unconditional love.

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