There can't, nor shouldn't be many of us who have never come into contact with the Mr. Men, today celebrating their 35th birthday. Since advertising copywriter Roger Hargreaves's son once asked him what a tickle looked like, there have been over 80 Mr Men and Little Miss books translated into 15 languages worldwide, selling over 100 million copies and making Hargreaves the third best selling author of all time in Britain in 2005.
Hargreaves himself passed away in 1988, two years after writing the first Little Miss book, and since then his son Adam has carried on the family line although each book still bears Roger's name on the cover. Mr Tickle remains the best selling Mr Men book and unsurprisingly, Little Miss Naughty is the best selling Little Miss. Ah, women these days...
Hargreaves's work is in many ways reminiscent to that of Jim Henson. Each created wonderfully colourful characters, whose stories revealed a basic lesson in humanistic morality without recourse to religions or systems, thus allowing for their longevity and international appeal. They were of course also incredibly funny, a little anarchic and as attractive to adults as they are to children. It's almost impossible not to shiver with childish delight at the memory of the tickling that would follow the end of a reading of Mr Tickle, or to laugh at the misfortunes that plagued Mr Bump.
So from all of us here at Londonist, a very Happy Birthday to them all. Mr Birthday and Little Miss Birthday are out today and the Animation Art Gallery on Great Castle Street has an exhibition to celebrate.