It’s Christmas so we thought it a good idea to look at something proper cheerful. The Mr. Men series is just that, an ongoing set of cute little books we read when we were stupid kids.
Created by author and illustrator Charles Roger Hargreaves (1935-1988), it first appeared in 1971.
All these years on, Mr. Men books have shifted some 85 million copies—they’re also available in 20 languages.
Hargreaves, from 1981 onwards, also produced the popular Little Miss series (this time with all female characters).
After Hargreaves’ sudden death in 1988 at the age of 53, his son Adam took over both series and continues with it to this day.
As many of you halfwits reading this will likely know, each Mr. Men book is about one character.
They have a defining characteristic the author uses to convey an important moral message. For example, we have:
- Mr. Tickle.
- Mr. Greedy.
- Mr. Bump.
- Mr. Nosey.
- Mr. Happy.
- Mr. Sneeze.
- Mr. Silly.
- Mr. Shit For Brains (okay, we made that one up).
Mr. Tickle was the first book. Hargreaves’ son was the inspiration for the series, after he asked his father circa 1970: “What does a tickle look like?”
Petulant little brat! Why, we hope his father grounded him for such impertinence!
The Little Miss series has the likes of Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Naughty, Little Miss Scatterbrain, and Little Miss Whoops.
Being macho men, we didn’t read any of those. But we do remember Mr. Bump fondly, that’s our overriding memory of the series.
Doing our research for this post, we came across some amusing translations on the Mr. Bump name across the globe:
- Senhor Desastrado—Portuguese.
- Monsieur Malchance—France.
- Don Pupas—Spain.
- Mr. Bumm—Hungary.
- Herr Dumpidump—Norway.
The first Mr. Bump was launched in August of 1971. As you can tell, we have an affinity for the hapless bloody fool.
Fun Mr. Bump fact—he goes through 300 metres of bandages each week! He’s also spent half of his life horizontal. Stupid git.
This series, along with the likes of Roald Dahl’s The Twits made up our childhood.
As for the Mr. Men series, it’s colourful and simplistic. The cartoons rely on a lot of white to draw attention in on the charming drawings.
The tales are also simple little moral stories about why it’s important to be kind, humble, and generous.
So we can still highly recommend the series for any parents out there. Great bedtime reading for your wee ones.
As the series is ongoing, and there’s an animated series as well, here’s a chance to add happy memories into their brains.
The original TV series ran from 1974 to 1978. These went out on the BBC—the narrator was Arthur Lowe, most famous for his role as Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.
More series followed between 1995-1997. And then there was a last one in 2008.
These are all available on the official YouTube account. For free! Hurray.