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A Children's Book to Personal Descriptions

By: Reese Yan

Roger Hargreaves was an English author and illustrator of children's books. He created the Mr. Men series, Little Miss series, and Timbuctoo series, intended for young readers. His books were simple and humorous. They sold over 85 million copies worldwide in 20 languages. The books remained popular for about 25 years. The first title in the series was Mr. Tickle in 1971. The inspiration was a question asked by his son Adam Hargreaves: “What does a tickle look like?” Even after his death in 1988, his popularity increased on social media.

Juul Puppy is a 21-year-old who makes dark but relatable memes on Instagram. She has about 83.4k followers. “Visual comedy takes advantage of unexpected pairings and I love to lean into that with all the memes I make,” continues “Juulpuppy,” who says she is a 21-year-old Brooklyn woman. “This trend is so infectious because the pairings are so ridiculous and relate to so many people. Any caption can be applied to a Little Miss image, so no one has to feel like the odd one out from this trend.” “We get to see cute imaginary versions of ourselves and laugh together at the messy nature of our flawed personalities, which I think is very genuine and sweet.” Nicole Gagliardi is a 22-year-old with the accounts of “LittleMissNotesApp” on Instagram with 2 million followers and “Starbucksslayqueen” on Tik Tok. “I think people resonate with this meme for the same reason they like knowing their personality type or zodiac sign: They like seeing something that they can identify with, and there’s something for everyone.” The “Little Miss” hashtag had about 140 million views on Tik Tok.

“The Hargreaves original books were created to explain very specific traits that were referential enough for many children to access,” says Jamie Cohen, a CUNY Queens College assistant professor who specializes in media studies and digital culture. “Like memes, the Hargreaves books are reductionist and shareable.”

Max Knoblauch is a writer, illustrator, and comedian. Knoblauch says the best part about the meme is that it allows people online to share a hyper-specific personal description. “I think it's neat that people are using it to introduce really specific traits like neuroses, trauma, or divergent characteristics — something that I think is good as it helps people hear new vocabulary and unknown characteristics in both funny and serious ways.”

If it wasn’t for Juul Puppy and Nicole Gagliardi, the Little Miss series probably wouldn’t be as popular on social media as it is now. Hopefully, in the future, the Little Miss series will continue to spread more smiles and laughs.

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