Little Critter by M. Mayer

If you follow me on either Twitter or Facebook, then you have probably already heard that I was pregnant. The new monkey will be making his/her appearance in August and we’ve been slowly getting Ian ready for a sibling. A friend of mine recommended reading a bunch of books on having a new baby in the house. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think of that at first (which was silly of me).  So we ended up with a copy of Mercer Mayer’s The New Baby.  The Little Critter series is a children’s classic.  I can’t remember reading any certain book during my own childhood, but I totally recognize the series.  So introducing the idea of a new sibling with this book was perfect in my opinion.

Ian loves it.  Jesse and I love it.  It not only describes all of the “bad” things about having a new baby – constantly crying, diapers, attention being diverted, etc; but it also describes all of the good things as well – cuddling the new baby, talking it for walks, playing with it, etc.  I don’t know if Ian gets the idea of what he can and can’t do with the new baby, but at least he’s already being exposed to it and it’s one of the books that he wants us to read at night.

Since Ian loved The New Baby and there was a list of other Mayer books in the back, I went to Bookmooch to find more for Ian (he loves getting books in the mail as much as I do).  I ended up finding a bunch of them – Just Go to Bed, I Just Forgot, What a Bad Dream and Just for You; but the two that showed up first were Just Going to the Dentist and I Was So Mad.

Just Going to the Dentist was another fabulous book.  It explained everything that was going to happen (including a long wait in the lobby), but it put such a positive spin on it that it sounded kind of cool to go through it.  They even mentioned getting a cavity and having to do the dreaded shot (I HATE the shot).  Ian loves this one too.  He’s already had Jesse and I read it to him five different times this afternoon alone.  I’m not sure when I’ll have to take him to get his first cleaning, but after reading this a few hundred times (which I’m sure we’ll do), I have no worries about taking him.  He might get a little nervous, but something tells me if I bring this along with us, he’s going to be such a champ with his first cleaning.

With two great stories from the Little Critter series, I had high expectations for I Was So Mad.  Needless to say, I found the dud.  Opening this book, I was expecting the little critter to be getting mad at not being able to do the things he wanted, but I was expecting something more from the ending than I’ll run away tomorrow if I’m still so mad.  Giving a kid the idea that running away when they’re mad and then not explaining how that isn’t a good idea doesn’t sit well with me at all.  There was so much more that could have been done with the ending instead of making it sound like it was okay to be mad.  There are consequences to being mad and none of those were explored.  Where the first two books showed both the positive and negative views of their subjects, I didn’t see that in I Was So Mad.

Overall, two out of three being great novels isn’t bad for a series of standalones, so I’m not writing off this series and we’re still eagerly awaiting the four other books.  However, I Was So Mad will be disappearing from Ian’s bookshelves and it’s not one I would recommend to anyone else.  I would love to find a book for Ian that discusses the positives and negatives of showing high emotions, so if anyone knows of any, please let me know.  I want him to know that there are times it is okay to be mad, but he has to realize that not everything is going to go his way and running from whatever made him mad is not an option.  That was not the message I got from I Was So Mad and I do not want Ian being influenced by this book in any way.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. “The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby” by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain is also an excellent book to prepare big brother for that baby’s arrival(especially if you know it’s going to be a girl). My middle son and daughter were several years apart and I had read “The Richards Bear(aka Berenstain)books to him since he was little. They are excellent teaching books on manners, strangers, bad dreams, getting along with your sister and just about anything else you can think of. As I used their names for brother bear and sister bear, when my son started school, he informed the teacher that she didn’t know how to read them right(lol). I don’t think I scarred him too bad. I also liked the Critter books as they had the kids visiting and spending the night with their grandparents but love the BB as there were so many of them.
    I now read them to my granddaughter as I saved all of them.
    They also have “The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight”, it’s been awhile since I read it but I’m betting it’s pretty good too.

  2. “I was so Mad” was one of my favorite books to read to my youngest. You don’t want to preach; you want to tell them the reasons to stay. It’s NOT about running away: it’s about having a feeling that’s considered “bad” and dealing with it.

    Berenstain Bears is sexist and teaches that fathers are stupid. It appeals to the mothers reading the books, but I’m offended by society’s attempt to make fathers irrelevant (not to sound like Dan Quayle here.) I raised four kids, three of them boys, and I’m here to tell you that fathers ARE important.

    Another terrific Mayer to read to Jesse is The Nightmare in My Closet. Also There’s Something in My Attic (terrific feminist piece) and the Alligator Under My Bed.

  3. @Lisa – We’ve checked out a few of the Berenstein Bears books before, but I’m still trying to get used to the picture books with an actual story with Ian right now. I’m so used to the board books that it’s taking me a bit to get into the others. I’ll have to look that one up on Bookmooch.

    @Michelle – Compared to the first two books, I didn’t feel like there was any kind of positive message from I was so Mad. I mean, it was all about how this kid was so mad his parents wouldn’t let him do anything and so he decides to run away. No one tries to talk him out of it or even indicates this is not how he should respond. Instead, they sit there and watch him pack and get ready to go. And then when he does go, the only reason he changes his mind is because they let him go off with his friends. It’s as if they were giving in to his tantrums.

  4. I bought the little critter books for all of my neices and they enjoyed them. I bought some of the Little Critter and Berenstein Bear books but check out the stories first. I didn’t care for some of them.

    When the kids got to be school age I started buying them the Magic School Bus books.

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