First Mr Men books published
There are some classic children’s books loved by parents for their content – Winnie the Pooh, Paddington and Wind in the Willows spring instantly to mind; and then there is the Mr Men series which has negligible content to be loved, but somehow manages to entrance generation after generation of kids. Perhaps their simplicity and naivety is what grabs them. Well, at least they provided the great Arthur Lowe with work – he it was who voiced the original cartoons, John Alderton taking over when the creator of Captain Mainwaring had breathed his last.
Mr Tickle was the first written. Legend has it that author Roger Hargreaves ’ son Adam asked him what a tickle looked like and an orangey blob with long wiggly arms was his response. Priced at 20p each the first books hit the market in August 1971: Mr Tickle, Mr Greedy, Mr Happy, Mr Nosey, Mr Sneeze and Mr Bump.
Whatever the books have, they have across cultural divides, translated into numerous languages, the merchandising a mini-industry and the rights to the characters reputedly sold in 2004 for £28 million. It is said the books have sold more than 100 million copies, so it will come as no surprise that many publishers turned them down before Hargreaves found one to take the project on.