Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Mr Dizzy, Mr Silly and Mr Skeleton

George really does enjoy his books and he has a few favourites, one of them being the Tickle Book which has flaps and tabs and is slowly starting to fall apart through repetitive pulling, tugging and grabbing. Among his other favourites are some Mr Men books, and these, quite literally, have been around for years. They were mummy's when she was little.

In most of George's books the only things emitting puffs of smoke are the trains, but in the Mr Men books the birds and pigs puff away too. I assume the books have been reprinted and reprinted over the years, but in the c-1976 versions I was amused to find these pics - in fact the words on the bird page said: 'Even the birds are clever in Cleverland!'.

Strange, how 30-odd years ago it was sort of acceptable to expose children to smoking, even in this subliminal way – nowadays it's a different story and George probably doesn't even know what a cigarette or a cigar is. The most exposure he's had to the habit was probably when we left the hospital with him just after he'd been born and we sadly had to walk through a gaggle of smokers standing outside the entrance – sort of a large outdoor ashtray with no-smoking signs everywhere – on our way to the car.

In case you were wondering, the bird is from the Mr Dizzy book and the pig, more appropriately, is from the Mr Silly book.

On Sunday, we had to go to B&Q. The 'had to' might sound a bit extreme, but our living room has been getting darker and darker. The thing is, every time we hit the lamp with the football the bulb goes (the football in question is a soft toy from Ikea and when I say we, I actually mean me). George has also bust a few bulbs by not looking where he's going and knocking the lamp off its perch. So a trip to B&Q was necessary in order to find our way to the kitchen in the hours of darkness.

Now, George doesn't often get wary or nervous, but at B&Q was a stand advertising some kind of pain relief/chiropractic service and next to it was a life-size plastic (I hope) skeleton. He's never seen a skeleton before and certainly wasn't keen on getting too close to it, but straight away he pointed and repeatedly shouted "man". It just made us wonder about how much he was registering and whether he realised that's what's under our skin... and how could he tell it was a man? After all it could have been a woman!

Anyway, our room is now filled with light, not too much that we're draining the National Grid, but just the right amount that we can see the Mr Men books properly.


  1. It's amazing what we considered acceptabe for children only a few decades ago! maybe you have a potential Dr on your hands there? lol

  2. The smoking bird has now been replaced with a bird wearing a mortar board and carrying a book.

    The pig in Mr Silly now wears trousers and a bowler hat ... and has no cigar!

  3. When I was in kindergarten (the 1984/1985 school year), Ms. Anderson, the school librarian, read "Mr. Silly" to us. I loved the picture of the pig with the cigar. I asked my parents to buy me the book, and they did. Imagine my surprise, and mild (or not so mild?) disappointment when the pig had, as stated above, trousers, a bowler hat, and NO CIGAR. In my adult life, I have speculated why this change was made. So, was the original picture a bad influence on me? Well...I suddenly developed an interest in cigars. In my early attempts at art, I drew pictures of characters with cigars, and I imagined I was smoking one when I had a pen in my mouth. But it was also an opportunity for my parents to reinforce the message they wanted me to get visa-vis smoking that it is very bad for your health. I think that all that time I knew they were right, and years later, I have never had a smoke, even in all my living in the Czech Republic, where the pubs allow smoking (in fact I hate it).