Classics, Picture Books

5 of Our Favorite Mercer Mayer Books

Mercer Mayer’s books have been beloved for generations, thanks in no small part to the star of many of them, Little Critter. Just what kind of animal is Little Critter? He’s obviously a hedgehog. No wait, a porcupine? Some have posited that he’s a wombat, hamster, guinea pig, or capybara. We can agree that he’s a mammal, and that whenever he graces the pages of a book, he gets into hilarious, and deeply relatable scrapes. Mercer Mayer has been publishing kids books since 1975, and has shown no signs of slowing down, as his beloved characters now star in dozens of board books, easy readers, and activity books. If you’re new to Mercer Mayer, here are five of his classics to start with.

Just for You (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

Just for You (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

Paperback $5.99

Just for You (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

By Mercer Mayer
Illustrator Mercer Mayer

In Stock Online

Paperback $5.99

Just For You 
This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss. Fun fact: Except for his pajamas on the last page, Little Critter doesn’t wear clothes in this book, as he will in later books. Kids can find his pals, the cricket and the spider, hiding on every page.

Just For You 
This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss. Fun fact: Except for his pajamas on the last page, Little Critter doesn’t wear clothes in this book, as he will in later books. Kids can find his pals, the cricket and the spider, hiding on every page.

I Was So Mad (Little Critter)

I Was So Mad (Little Critter)

Paperback $5.99

I Was So Mad (Little Critter)

By Ron Miller
Illustrator Mercer Mayer

In Stock Online

Paperback $5.99

I Was So Mad 
When kids are little and learning to control their emotions, it can sometimes feel to them like they are being punished for the emotion, and not for the expression of it. I Was So Mad helps clarify this for them—it’s not the anger that’s bad, it’s just how you act on it. This book shows them how everyone gets frustrated, including Little Critter when his parents yell at him for various infractions and people tell him that he can’t do the things he wants to do. It conveys how a kid feels sometimes—bossed around and hemmed in by adults—but also ready to leave grudges aside and be cheerful again when invited to play with friends.

I Was So Mad 
When kids are little and learning to control their emotions, it can sometimes feel to them like they are being punished for the emotion, and not for the expression of it. I Was So Mad helps clarify this for them—it’s not the anger that’s bad, it’s just how you act on it. This book shows them how everyone gets frustrated, including Little Critter when his parents yell at him for various infractions and people tell him that he can’t do the things he wants to do. It conveys how a kid feels sometimes—bossed around and hemmed in by adults—but also ready to leave grudges aside and be cheerful again when invited to play with friends.

Just Go to Bed (Little Critter)

Just Go to Bed (Little Critter)

Paperback $5.99

Just Go to Bed (Little Critter)

By Mercer Mayer

In Stock Online

Paperback $5.99

Just Go To Bed 
Those of us who have a copy of Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep hidden in our bedrooms where our kids won’t find it are glad to instead share with them Mayer’s G-rated story from 1983 that expresses a similar sentiment. In this book, Little Critter’s mild mannered dad finds him in an assortment of costumes and tries to persuade each one—the cowboy, the general, and the space cadet—to take a bath, already. Dad’s cheerful demeanor doesn’t crack as Little Critter protests his bath, makes a mess in the bathroom, and makes a mess in the kitchen, but when he heads out naked to drive his race car, Dad’s finally had enough. “Just go to bed!” the exhausted dad yells.

Just Go To Bed 
Those of us who have a copy of Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep hidden in our bedrooms where our kids won’t find it are glad to instead share with them Mayer’s G-rated story from 1983 that expresses a similar sentiment. In this book, Little Critter’s mild mannered dad finds him in an assortment of costumes and tries to persuade each one—the cowboy, the general, and the space cadet—to take a bath, already. Dad’s cheerful demeanor doesn’t crack as Little Critter protests his bath, makes a mess in the bathroom, and makes a mess in the kitchen, but when he heads out naked to drive his race car, Dad’s finally had enough. “Just go to bed!” the exhausted dad yells.

Just Me and My Puppy (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

Just Me and My Puppy (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

Paperback $5.99

Just Me and My Puppy (Little Critter Series) (Look-Look Collection)

By Mercer Mayer
Illustrator Mercer Mayer

In Stock Online

Paperback $5.99

Just Me and My Puppy 
This book allows kids some wish fulfillment as they watch Little Critter trade his baseball mitt for a puppy and bring the dog home without asking permission from his mom. Little Critter learns that taking care of a puppy is a lot like taking care of him—he makes a lot of messes, isn’t totally obedient, is exhausting, and rebels at bath time. But, just as raising Little Critter is worth it, taking care of the puppy is worth it, if only for all the warm snuggles at bedtime.

Just Me and My Puppy 
This book allows kids some wish fulfillment as they watch Little Critter trade his baseball mitt for a puppy and bring the dog home without asking permission from his mom. Little Critter learns that taking care of a puppy is a lot like taking care of him—he makes a lot of messes, isn’t totally obedient, is exhausting, and rebels at bath time. But, just as raising Little Critter is worth it, taking care of the puppy is worth it, if only for all the warm snuggles at bedtime.

Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book

Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book

Hardcover $12.95

Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Home, School and Work Book

By Mercer Mayer

Hardcover $12.95

Mercer Mayer’s Little Monster Home, School, and Work Book 
Little Critter might be the most famous of Mercer Mayer’s creations, but the runner-up isn’t too shabby either: Little Monster. He’s a peach-colored dragony, dinosaur-like whatsit with wings. He stars in a whole series of books, and this one, which collects several stories, is a good place to start. Some of Little Monster’s routines will be familiar to kids, but his friends are distinctive, with their ear wings, fangs, beaks, and claws.

Mercer Mayer’s Little Monster Home, School, and Work Book 
Little Critter might be the most famous of Mercer Mayer’s creations, but the runner-up isn’t too shabby either: Little Monster. He’s a peach-colored dragony, dinosaur-like whatsit with wings. He stars in a whole series of books, and this one, which collects several stories, is a good place to start. Some of Little Monster’s routines will be familiar to kids, but his friends are distinctive, with their ear wings, fangs, beaks, and claws.

Which Mercer Mayer books do you love?