|Born||Charles Roger Hargreaves
9 May 1935
Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England
|Died||11 September 1988
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
|Pen name||Roger Hargreaves|
|Notable works||Mr. Men, Little Miss, Timbuctoo|
|Notable awards||Best Books of the Year 1983|
|Children||Adam, Giles, Sophie, Amelia|
Charles Roger Hargreaves (9 May 1935 – 11 September 1988) was an English author and illustrator of children's books, best remembered for the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, intended for very young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have been part of popular culture since 1971, with sales of over 85 million copies worldwide in 20 languages.
Charles Roger Hargreaves was born in a private hospital at 201 Bath Road, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire to Alfred Reginald Hargreaves and Ethel Mary Hargreaves. He grew up at 703 Halifax Road, Hartshead Moor, Cleckheaton, outside of which there now is a commemorative plaque.
Hargreaves attended Sowerby Bridge Grammar School (now Sowerby Bridge High School). He then spent a year working in his father's laundry and dry-cleaning business before gaining employment in advertising. His original ambition was to be a cartoonist, and in 1971, while working as the creative director at a London firm, he wrote the first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle. Initially he had difficulty finding a publisher, but once he did the books became an instant success, selling over one million copies within three years. In 1974 the books spawned a BBC animated television series, narrated by Arthur Lowe. A second series the following year saw newer titles transmitted in double bill format with those from the first series.
By 1976, Hargreaves had quit his day job. In 1981 the Little Miss series of books was launched, and in 1983 it also was made into a television series, narrated by Pauline Collins, and her husband John Alderton. Although Hargreaves wrote many other children's stories—including the Timbuctoo series of 25 books, John Mouse and the Roundy and Squarey books—he is best known for his 46 Mr. Men and 33 Little Miss books.
Between 1975 and 1982 Hargreaves lived with his family on Guernsey. Then they settled at Sussex House Farm near Cowden, Kent. Hargreaves died in 1988 at age 53 at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Royal Tunbridge Wells following a stroke. After his death, his son Adam continued writing and drawing the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters with new stories (while signing the covers in his father's signature). However, in April 2004 Hargreaves's widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men characters to the UK entertainment group Chorion, for £28 million.
Hargreaves and his wife had four children: Adam, Giles and twins Sophie and Amelia. The first of the Mr. Men characters is reported to have been created when Adam, at age 6, asked his father what a tickle looked like. Hargreaves drew a figure with a round orange body and long rubbery arms, which became Mr. Tickle. He recalls that his father was 6 ft 5in (1.96 m) tall. The book Little Miss Twins was written for Hargreaves' twin daughters.
Series by Roger Hargreaves
- Mr Men
- Little Miss
- Walter Worm
- John Mouse
- Albert Elephant, Count Worm and Grandfather Clock
- I am...
- Hippo Potto and Mouse
- Easy Peasy People (also by Gray Jolliffe)
- Roundy and Squarey
Appears in other books
Some Mr. Men books have Hargreaves drawn in them. He appears in:
- "People of 1988: Obituaries", 1989 Britannica Book of the Year, Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1989, ISBN 0-85229-504-9
- Heward, Margaret (18 October 2007). "You need dedication to be tickled orange". Spenborough Guardian. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
- Sowerby Bridge High Old Boy or Girl at Halifax Courier. Retrieved 25 May 2015
- "Let's Go to Misterland". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Mr Men to return in new TV series", BBC News, 15 April 2007
- John Malam. "Hargreaves, (Charles) Roger". Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Mr Men join Chorion in £28m deal". Evening Standard. UK. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Wintle, Angela. "Interview with Adam Hargreaves - Mr Men Illustrator and Writer." Sussex Life.
- "Mr Men Google doodles celebrate 76th birthday of creator Roger Hargreaves". London: Telegraph. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.