Book Review: Mr. Strong

mr strongDunce Two, did you ever read the Roger Hargreaves’ books? His Mr. Men and Little Miss series was the cornerstone of my childhood. And now my adulthood, in many ways.

In case it’s been a while, each one of his books had a title like Mr. Tall, Mr. Messy, or in this case, Mr. Strong. Master Strong looks a lot like the Kool Aid Man.

He wakes up every morning and eats an omelet with about a zillion eggs in it. Then he proceeds to break just about everything he touches because, of course, he is too strong not to.

This very trait that defines the big red man is the same thing that bails someone else out of a jam by the book’s conclusion. In this case it’s a farmer with a burning barn.

These books taught me that eccentricities should be magnified. Everyone was defined by a single trait that a caricaturist would pick out , sort of like in Junior High.

Or, in January of 2010 I went to the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico to talk to a historian.  While we were talking about Navajo naming practices, he told me that one of his best friends’ names means “the wind blows against his face.”

Why would this be? Sadly, because he had some neck defect that meant his left ear was usually locked into position about two inches away from the top of his left deltoid.

Anyway, back to Hargreaves. Read the books. And then, a question, if he were to write a sequel featuring you, what would the name of it be?

Mr: ?


5 thoughts on “Book Review: Mr. Strong

  1. You pose an interesting question, Dunce One. I am familiar with the Hargreaves series. To narrow anyone, particularly oneself, down to just one characteristic, would be difficult at best.

    There is a phenomenon on Facebook where people will take a page filled with Hargreaves-esque characters, and then tag “friends” they think represent each trait. What was my surprise when, one morning, I received a notice that someone had tagged me on such a page, and tagged me as “Mr. Violent”? And this is someone that knows me well and, I should like to think, better. Have I ever, in my life, exhibited violence? Yes. But so much so that violence could or should be my one defining characteristic? I think not.

    But it made me think, even before you posed your question, what, if given the choice, would I want to be my one defining characteristic? I would like to think I am Mr. Sensitive, and I am sensitive, but not all the time, and probably not even mostly. I would like to think that I am not Mr. Terrified, but if I’m honest, sometimes that is me too.

    It depends on the perspective of the person doing the labeling, I suppose. I could be Mr. Brave, Mr. Happy, Mr. Loving. But then, I could be Mr. Underachieving, Mr. Unassertive, Mr. Disappointing.

    Not to make light, but I have often thought the Native Americans were a bit rash in their naming. Like “Dances with Wolves.” Just because you have a certain physical characteristic or like to interact with a certain type of wildlife, should that define you for the rest of your life?

    I think your defining characteristics change over time, and I am glad for it. Today I would define myself as Mr. Hopeful. As long as those beat the Mr. Angry days, the Mr. Defeated days, the Mr. Complacent days, I think you’re headed in the right direction.

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