Mr. Men

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For other uses, see Mr. Man.
Little Miss Chatterbox, 1984

Mr. Men is a series of 49 children's books by Roger Hargreaves commencing in 1971. Two of these books were not published in English. The series features characters with names such as Mr. Tickle and Mr. Happy who have personalities and physical attributes based on their names. From 1981, an accompanying series of 42 Little Miss books by the same author, but with female characters, were published, although nine of them were not published in English. After Hargreaves's death in 1988, his son Adam Hargreaves began writing and illustrating new stories, including four characters that his father had developed before his death.

Each book in the original Mr. Men and Little Miss series introduced a different title character and his/her single dominant personality to convey a simple moral lesson. The Mr. Men and Little Miss characters frequently reappeared in other characters books. The books' simple stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, made them very popular, with sales of over 100 million worldwide across 28 countries.[1]

History[edit]

Mr. Tickle, 1971

The first six Mr. Men books were published in United Kingdom in 1971, priced at 20p each. Mr. Tickle was the first Mr. Men character created by Hargreaves, inspired by his son, Adam, who had asked him what a tickle looked like. Hargreaves responded with a round, orange figure with long, bendy arms.

A competition was held in the British Sunday Times newspaper for children to submit their own Mr. Men character for inclusion in a limited edition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the series. Mr. Cheeky, submitted by then eight-year old Gemma Almond, was selected as the winning entry. Gemma's creation led to a book featuring her character being published; it was sold only in W H Smith branches, with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity supporting children with leukaemia.

In April 2004, Hargreaves' widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters to UK entertainment group Chorion for £28 million.[2] In 2006, to celebrate 35 years of Mr. Men and 25 years of Little Miss, Mr. Birthday and Little Miss Birthday were published. There was also an art exhibition at the Animation Art Gallery[3] in central London. In October 2006, Adam Hargreaves created the first Little Miss character based on a real person, Stella McCartney, which he named Little Miss Stella. This was published as a limited edition of 1,000 copies for use as fashion show invitations.[4]

The typeface for the original books from Little Miss Bossy to Little Miss Star is Univers, with the books from Little Miss Busy to Little Miss Somersault using Helvetica. All the other books in the series use Optima.

In February 2011, 20th Century Fox and 21 Laps Entertainment announced plans for an animated film.[5]

In 2011, Sanrio, the Japanese design company best known as the creators of Hello Kitty, announced that they had reached an agreement to acquire the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters from Chorion.[6] This marked the first time that Sanrio had licensed a third-party character since owning the rights to Osamu Tezuka's Unico character in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which was returned to Tezuka Productions after Tezuka's death in 1989.

Setting[edit]

The stories are set in a fictional universe called "Misterland", which is inhabited by the Mr. Men and Little Misses themselves, as well as some ordinary human characters and animals. Misterland is connected to the real world, as referenced in the story Mr. Fussy: "'I'm your cousin,' replied Mr. Clumsy. 'Your long lost cousin from Australia.'" Although multi-coloured and often oddly shaped, the Mr. Men are human in their behaviours and attributes.

Product range[edit]

There are 80 licensees selling Mr. Men and Little Miss products, including:

  • A Mr. Men Colorforms Playset
  • Beanies / Plush Toys
  • Catch-It-All Wipe Clean Bib
  • Little Miss and Mr. Men Dominos
  • Little Miss and Mr. Men T-shirts
  • Mr. Bump Make-a-Match Game
  • Mr. Bump Plasters
  • Mr. Cool Bags
  • Mr. Cool Toilet Seat Covers
  • Mr. Funny's Runny Honey
  • Mr. Greedy Doughnuts
  • Mr. Lazy Slippers
  • Mr. Sneeze Tissues
  • Mr. Men 4-in-a-Row Game
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Little Miss Helpful Gel Pack
  • Mr. Men and Little Miss toys
  • Mr. Men Mobile Products by Airborne Mobile
  • Mr. Men Pop n Race Game
  • Mr. Men Puzzle Clock
  • Mr. Men Snakes and Ladders
  • Mr. Men Switchplate Switch Plate
  • Mr. Messy Baby Bibs
  • The Mr. Men Show
  • Which Little Miss Are You? Game

List of books[edit]

The following is a list of the book titles with year of first publication and associated ISBNs given in parenthesis. There are many more titles published as translations including works in Mandarin, French, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, Icelandic, Hebrew, German, Portuguese, Irish and others.

"Mr. Men" series[edit]

"Little Miss" series[edit]

Special Editions[edit]

Mr. Men (Celebrations)[edit]


"Mr. Men" New Library[edit]

"Little Miss" New Library[edit]

Promotional editions (free with L'Oreal Kids shampoo)[edit]

"Be My" series[edit]

  • Be My Little Miss Sunshine
  • Be My Mr. Happy

Little Owl[edit]

These stories were published as Little Owl Storytime – The Children's Choice.

Word Books[edit]

  • Mr. Tickle in the Park (1979)
  • Mr. Greedy goes Shopping (1979)
  • Mr. Happy at the Seaside (1979)
  • Mr. Silly on the Farm (1979)
  • Mr. Strong to the Rescue (1980)
  • Mr. Muddle goes to School (1980)
  • Mr. Funny at the Circus (1980)
  • Mr. Nosey follows his Nose (1980)

String Books[edit]

  • Mr. Clever: The Impossible Ring (1986)
  • Mr. Nosey: Follow that Lead (1986)
  • Mr. Strong: Tug of War (1986)

Guides[edit]

Chunkies[edit]

"Start to" series[edit]

Board books[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Bumper Activity Book (2002, ISBN 0-7214-8439-5)
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Colouring Book (2002, ISBN 0-7214-8436-0)
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Fun & Games (2002, ISBN 0-7214-8440-9)
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Picture Dictionary
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: Stencil Activity Book
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss: The Adventure's of Mr. Tickle
  • Mr. Men Story Treasury

TV series[edit]

The Mr. Men characters were adapted into two animated television series in 1974 that consisted of a total of 28 episodes.[8] They were produced by Terry Ward's company, Flicks Films (formerly known as 101 Film Productions) in partnership with Trevor Bond[9] and broadcast by the BBC. The voices and narration were provided by Arthur Lowe, well known from his role as Captain Mainwaring in the sitcom Dad's Army, who used regional accents for some of the characters.[9] The musical theme was composed by Tony Hymas.[10]

The 28 episodes were:

Series 1
  • Mr. Happy
  • Mr. Silly
  • Mr. Jelly
  • Mr. Snow
  • Mr. Bounce
  • Mr. Forgetful
  • Mr. Funny
  • Mr. Bump
  • Mr. Tickle
  • Mr. Small
  • Mr. Messy
  • Mr. Greedy
  • Mr. Sneeze


Series 2

  • Mr. Strong
  • Mr. Daydream
  • Mr. Fussy
  • Mr. Worry
  • Mr. Uppity
  • Mr. Dizzy
  • Mr. Topsy-Turvy
  • Mr. Muddle
  • Mr. Mean
  • Mr. Nosey
  • Mr. Chatterbox
  • Mr. Noisy
  • Mr. Impossible
  • Mr. Lazy
  • Mr. Grumpy

During 1983, a further series featuring the Little Miss characters was produced by Flicks Films. This was narrated by husband and wife John Alderton and Pauline Collins. The 13 Little Miss episodes were:

  • Little Miss Splendid
  • Little Miss Late
  • Little Miss Plump
  • Little Miss Helpful
  • Little Miss Tiny
  • Little Miss Bossy
  • Little Miss Naughty
  • Little Miss Trouble
  • Little Miss Magic
  • Little Miss Neat
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Little Miss Shy

Another series, Mr. Men and Little Miss, was produced by Marina Productions in 1995 and aired on television from 1995 to 1997; these stories were narrated by Geoffrey Palmer aired on Nick Jr and Channel 5's Milkshake!.

In 2006, Renegade Animation produced a series, The Mr. Men Show, a new American animated series which debuted on the Cartoon Network (US) and on Channel 5's Milkshake! (UK) program in February 2008. There were only 25 characters featured in the first season, and most had their names or appearances altered. The Mr. Men Show was written and produced by Eryk Casemiro and Kate Boutilier, and directed by Mark Risley. The creative team was a combined effort of personnel from Nickelodeon's Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, and As Told by Ginger. The opening and closing narration was voiced by actor Simon Callow in the UK version and Joseph J. Terry in the US version.

UK video and DVD releases[edit]

Film[edit]

In 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox Animation will produce an animated feature film based on the Mr. Men book series, with Shawn Levy and his company 21 Laps Entertainment producing the film.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (7 February 2011). "Fox Sets 'Mr. Men' Animated Feature With Producer Shawn Levy (EXCLUSIVE)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mr Men join Chorion in £28m deal | News". Thisislondon.co.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Animation Gallery". Theanimationartgallery.com. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Miss Macca and co". Metro.co.uk. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/feb/08/mr-men-film-roger-hargreaves
  6. ^ "Mr. Men leave Chorion to say Hello, Kitty". Financial Times. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "'You' and the Silly Birthday Party – Mr. Men story library format personalised book". Egmont. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Mr Men to return in new TV series", BBC News, 15 April 2007
  9. ^ a b Flicks Films at Animatormag. Retrieved 27 July 2013
  10. ^ Tony Hymas Biography. Retrieved 28 July 2013

Further reading[edit]

  • Sheridan, Simon: The A to Z of Classic Children's Television, Reynolds & Hearn books, 2004, reprinted 2007. ISBN 1-903111-27-7

External links[edit]