Mr. Tickle (Mr. Men, #1) [ePub]

by Roger Hargreaves

This book details a day in the life of he central character - Mr. Tickle who is quickly established as a classic anti-establishment figure in the manner of James Dean in "Rebel Without A Cause", Peter Fonda in "Easy Rider" or Marlon Brando in "The Wild One".

Tickle goes about his day humiliating people in positions of authority, making them look stupid and disrupting the valuable work they are doing in the community and their contributions to the wider society.
Mr. Tickle breaks in to a school and tickles a teacher. Beyond that he attacks a policeman, a railway guard and a postman. Traffic is disrupted, trains run late and items belonging to the Royal Mail are damaged.

Tickle is a recidivist without morals or conscience. He’s an archetypal anarchist, intent on 'sticking it to the man'. It's easy to see why two-year-olds warm to him – his generation are the so-called "Terrible Twos", infants who are learning the norms of society by testing behavioural boundaries that have been established by their parents.

Mr. Tickle's motivations for disrupting these important functions of '70s society are unclear. He simply wakes up in the morning in the mood for mischief and embarks with glee on his trail of destruction. Tickle is a real sociopath but with obvious charisma and charm – a classic folk-hero figure.

The Mr. Tickle design has, in recent years, been given a makeover. His newer form shows a character in the midst of an uncontrollable (or forced?) giggling fit – a flamboyant (or attention-seeking?) display of glee at his antics. The original rendering simply shows Mr. Tickle sporting a large satisfied grin – it's the kind of grin that, upon seeing it, makes the observer want to smile too – a natural, unforced and contagious expression of happiness. Of course, as Tickle's repeated pattern of destruction comes to light, it's the kind of calm smile that hints at hidden depths and becomes an unnerving and unsettling expression of something far more sinister and intriguing.

At the end, it becomes clear this is a book for a parent and their child to enjoy together as the reader is encouraged to spring a surprise on their audience by tickling them. It's a genius interactive ending that cements this book's place as a children's classic.

09.09.2010

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