Terence Blacker: Mr Makeover proves a hit with the Misters and Misses

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The Independent Online

Hullo, children. Today we're going to meet one of the happiest families that has ever wobbled, hopped skipped or fallen flat on their faces in a children's book! How do I know they are happy? Because a little bird tells me that their little stories and characters were once sold for £28m.

Hurrah for the Mr Men! And let's have some girly clapping and giggling for the Little Misses! They are some of the most successful children's book characters of all time. That's enough to make Mr Grumpy smile!

Today's story is about Mr Makeover.

Mr Makeover says: "Tick-tock, tick-tock, time is moving on, darlings. We need to get with the programme. You guys are just so yesterday. And frankly, I'd rather be dead than yesterday."

At first, the Mr Men and the Little Misses ignored Mr Makeover. They couldn't understand why he was always going on about rebranding and honing their profile, marketing-wise.

"There's nothing remotely yesterday about us," said Mr Tickle. "Is there, Little Miss Naughty?"

Little Miss Naughty said: "Cooeee, you can't find me! Not even under the stairs."

But Mr Skinny thought that Mr Makeover might be on to something. "I've noticed that people keep using phrases like 'eating disorder' and 'size zero' when I'm around," he said. "Perhaps they are trying to tell me that I'm a bit yesterday."

There was a squeak from nearby. "Me too, Mr Skinny. I just have to say that I'm Little Miss Helpful and that I come from Sensibleland and people ask me to do the strangest things. Sometimes they can be quite rude."

So all the Mr Men and the Little Misses went to see Mr Makeover. They decided that Mr Clever should speak to them because he was clever and a Mr.

"We've been thinking," said Mr Clever. "Maybe you were right, Mr Makeover. We are getting a little frayed around the edges. Could you make us over, please?"

Mr Makeover said: "Well, you can shut it for a start, Mr Clever. We need a Little Miss spokesperson for the group."

Little Miss Chatterbox put up her hand. She said: "Not being funny, I've got to say at the end of the day when it comes to one-on-one communications skills, the Little Miss Chatterbox approach would be... "

But Mr Makeover held up his hand. "You've got a new name, babe. It is Little Miss Postmodern Irony."

The Mr Men and the Little Misses fell silent. Mr Grumpy said: "That's not exactly catchy, is it?" he said.

"Exactly," said Mr Makeover. "We are transcending gender stereotypes with subversive, politically aware humour. It's the only way we can go with the Little Miss thing. These are ethically complex times in which a bullying morality paradoxically co-exists with a social mood of hyper-sensitivity. So for a start, we are going to need a Little Miss Why-oh-Why and a Mr Deeply Offended."

But Mr Muddle said: "Mr Overmake, I'm muxed ip. If I'm going to change my whole character, isn't it a bit of a T-junction?"

"He means 'u-turn'," said Little Miss Trouble.

Mr Makeover said: "Don't worry, Mr Muddle. You can now be Mr Green and be just as muddled as ever. As for you, Little Miss Trouble, you'd better get down to the pub. You are now Little Miss Barf, the unacceptable face of modern youth culture. Now who would like to be Mr Asbo, speaking up for the responsible society?"

"That sounds like one for me," said Mr Miserable.

Soon all the Mr Men and the Little Misses were discussing their new names. Little Miss Somersault became Little Miss New Labour. Mr Bounce became Mr Bouncer. Mr Right became Mr Spin. Little Miss Star went into rehab.

Suddenly they all noticed Mr Daydream sitting alone in a corner.

"What about you, Mr Daydream?" asked Mr Makeover. "What are you going to be?"

Mr Daydream sniffed. "Promise you won't laugh?" he said.

They all promised.

"I want to be Mr Little Miss," he said, smiling shyly.

"Fabuloso!" said Mr Makeover. "And so you shall. Channel Four, here we come!"

Miles Kington is away

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