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Down Memory Lane With Mr. Men And Little Miss
Yesterday, Google honoured a man who had given so much joy to so many children around the world with his cartoon characters. It would have been Charles Roger Hargreaves’ 76th birthday and the search engine had sixteen doodles of his characters to brighten up our day.
I wish I’d grown up on his books. I did the next best thing though – I enjoyed them when my daughter was little. It’s amazing how children can have the same books read to them again and again and never feel bored. Each time is like the first time – the same anticipation, the same degree of excitement, the only difference being they soon know when the page has to be turned.
The first two books were a gift – Miss Chatterbox and Mr. Small. I’m growing old – I just can’t remember who gave them to us but my eternal thanks to whoever it was. Together, my baby and I stepped into Roger Hargreaves’ world and there was no turning back.
Roger Hargreaves was born in West Yorkshire and it was while he was working in advertising that he completed Mr. Tickle, his first Mr. Men book. Cartooning was his first love and it all began with his son Adam asking him to describe a tickle. So he drew a long-armed character with a round, orange body. He might have found it tough to find a publisher at first but once his book was launched, it went on to be a runaway success. Many more Mr. Men books followed – there were 46 in all – all of them were lapped up by an adoring audience. The stories were simple and so were the cartoon figures and every child who read the books loved them.
Then came the next series – Little Miss and there were 33 of these. There were good little misses and naughty little misses and some of them were quite wicked but you couldn’t help loving every one of them. Till he passed away in 1988, he continued adding new books to these series and when he was gone, his son Adam did the cartoons for a while. Today, over 100 million copies of these books have been sold all over the world and the BBC even had a TV series on both the sets of characters.
There could be some who say the books are silly and too simple but they appeal to the heart of every little child. And that’s what finally matters, doesn’t it? Both Mr. Men and Little Miss are brands today, lending their names to a whole range of memorabilia like mugs, T-shirts, slippers, bibs, games and even toilet seat covers.
Roger Hargreaves, we salute you. Thank you for lighting up our lives with your sunshine-y characters!