Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along by Michael Daedalus Kenny, illustrated by Gabriel Corbera. January 1, 2013. VIZ Media LLC. 80 pages. ISBN: 9781421540733
Mr. Strong and the other Little Miss and Mr. Men characters were a memorable part of my childhood. I had my own personal collection of the small, white, and square paperback books, my personal favorites being Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss Chatterbox. I’d never considered what a wonderful cartoon show these characters would make, but clearly someone did, as there is now a Mr. Men Show on the Cartoon Network featuring many of the characters from those 1970s picture books. This book - Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along - is written by a writer for the Mr. Men Show, and it seems to be based on the show’s interpretation of the characters rather than the original books.
Mr. Strong is Dillydale’s resident superhero. He can carry a horse one-handed, speed up cars with just a push, and, after a long chase, catch a dog. He’s proud of his strength, as evidenced by how often he kisses his own biceps, but even though he seems cocky, he is always right there to help his friends The episodes in this book show off his strength, but also poke fun at the pitfalls of having superhuman capabilities. Each story - from stopping a train, to chasing a dog, to throwing a last-minute dinner party - is fast-paced and lighthearted, with lots of action and visual gags. The connection to the television show is obvious, especially when there is an actual break in the story for a musical interlude. Reading the book is a similar experience to watching a cartoon, a style which at times feels chaotic to me, even though I know it will be just perfect for kids.
While the original picture books about the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters seemed to be focused on character education, this book is just plain fun. Kids who love comics, and those who have graduated from early chapter books, will breeze through each episode about Mr. Strong, and they’ll be likely to look for the other titles in the series: Mr. Bump in: Lights, Camera, Bump! and Little Miss Sunshine in: Here Comes the Sun!
I received a digital ARC of Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along from the publisher via Edelweiss.
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