Mr. Tickle – Roger Hargreaves

POINTS: 1 out of 10.

Bechdel:  0 points
Variety of characters: 0 point
Good story: 1 point
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points

Mr Tickle is the first in the incredibly prolific and popular Mr Men (and Little Miss) books. These are a big favourite in this house – C absolutely loves them. Me? I am less convinced. I have a lot to say about the series as a whole, but in the interest of fairness, I am going to try to treat each book individually.

So, Mr Tickle. Firstly, it doesn’t pass Bechdel, but that’s no surprise. Also, there’s nothing that could be viewed as showing the wide variety of human experience.

And then there’s the consent stuff.

Look, Mr Tickle is portrayed as not being a paragon of virtue. He’s “naughty”, even within the framework of the story. But it goes further than that, because seriously, this guy is a fucking creep.

He basically spends his spare time wandering around tickling total strangers with his freakishly and disturbing long arms. He reminds me of that gross guy in that episode of Angel, who can remove his hands and send them into the house and bedroom of the woman he’s stalking. It’s heeby-jeeby territory. He wanders around tickling strangers and causing havoc and then he goes home and sits in his armchair and laughs to himself about it.

It’s ikky. And the thing is, it’s not just my adult viewpoint that’s making it ikky. C and I have had so many conversations about how tickling can be fun but when the person asks you to stop you should stop. I realise there’s a time lapse thing here and the book was written in a different time, but I found myself wanting to stop and talk to C about it a lot.

I dunno. I guess if you use the book as a springboard for that conversation, then it would have some merit, but I found it quite unsettling. I know from reading many of the others, that they’re not all quite as bad, but I’d say give Mr Tickle a skip. Read Mr Silly. That’s a great one.


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