Mercer Mayer: "Little Criter" Short Stories and the Crucial Life Lessons They Portray

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Mercer Mayer is an American artist and short story author who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 30, 1943. He grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and attended art school in Honolulu and New York City. He has written over 300 short stories, some with the help of his current wife, Gina Mayer. The stories I have chosen to analyze are part of his “Little Critter” series. These stories include “Little Critter’s The Fussy Princess,” “Taking Care of Mom,” “I Was so Mad,” “The New Baby,” and “A Very Special Critter.” All of these stories were a big part of my childhood and hold a special place in my heart. Mercer Mayer’s writing style for all of these books is along the same line as far as vocabulary and transitional phrases. The…show more content…
The difference between the books then, arguably, are the characters that are in focus. For example, in “A Very Special Critter,” the entire book is about a new student at Little Critter’s School: Alex. Alex is in a wheelchair, so Little Critter’s dad talks to him about how even though Alex is different, he is just like everybody else. This book is completely centered around the character that is being introduced. This is a common theme for Mayer; he has written many other stories completely based around a new character, such as “Spending Time with Grandpa” and “The Fussy Princess.” While characters are crucial to the diversity of Mayer’s stories, the setting in each story is also important. Throughout his stories, Mayer has chosen many different settings, along with some common settings as well. A specific time is never truly mentioned (except in the case of “The Fussy Princess”, where the time is said to be “a long, long time ago”), although it is easy to gauge which stories are older based on character development (the addition of Little Sister and then Little Brother later on). As for the setting, some stories are unique in that they are based on the setting in which they take place. For example, in “The Fussy Princess” the story starts out in Little Critter’s bedroom (he is telling his sister a bedtime story) but the setting is quickly moved to a medieval castle. Some of Mayer’s stories

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