Little Miss Chatterbox, 1984
|Author||Roger Hargreaves (1971-1988)|
Adam Hargreaves (1988-present)
|No. of books||(List of books)|
Mr. Men is a series of children's books by English author Roger Hargreaves commencing in 1971. From 1981, an accompanying series of Little Miss books by the same author but with female characters was published. A similar series of animal characters known as Timbuctoo started in 1978. After Hargreaves's death in 1988, his son Adam Hargreaves began writing and illustrating new Mr. Men and Little Miss stories like Mr. Cool, Mr. Rude, Mr. Good, Little Miss Scary, Little Miss Bad and Little Miss Whoops.
Each book in the original Mr. Men and Little Miss series introduced a different title character and his/her single dominant personality trait to convey a simple moral lesson. The Mr. Men and Little Miss characters frequently reappeared in other characters' books. As of 2015, a total of 85 Mr. Men and Little Miss characters had been featured in the series. The books' simple stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, made them very popular, with sales of over 100 million worldwide across 28 countries. All the characters are from the fictional town of "Mister Land"
The first six Mr. Men books were published in the United Kingdom in 1971. Mr. Tickle was the first Mr. Men character created by Hargreaves, inspired by his son, Adam, who had asked him what a tickle looked like. Hargreaves responded with a round, orange figure with long, bendy arms.
Over the course of the 1970s Roger Hargreaves produced 38 more Mr. Men in addition to Mr. Tickle, as well as producing a number of other Mr. Men books. In the 1980s Roger Hargreaves began the Little Miss series with 'Little Miss Bossy' and he produced 21 characters and books. As well as this two special Mr. Men stories were created in 1985 'Mr. Nobody' and 'Mr. Christmas'. Both of these have been re-released in later years. Roger Hargreaves died in 1988 and his son Adam was to take over the franchise.
When these books were released in the United States, several terms were changed to their American terms.
In France, illustrator Colette David and writers Viviane Cohen and Evelyne Lallemand produced a number of new characters that were not released anywhere else in the world. The characters 'Mr. Crosspatch', 'Mr. No', 'Little Miss Yes', 'Little Miss All-Goes-Well', 'Little Miss Loud', 'Little Miss Careful', 'Little Miss Brilliant', 'Little Miss Busy-Body', 'Little Miss Vain', 'Little Miss Prim', and 'Little Miss Selfish' were only released in France and Greece whereas four Mr. Men characters and nine Little Miss characters were also published in English and can be seen listed below as being released in 1990. The French Mr. Men that were published in English were Mr. Brave, Mr. Grumble, Mr. Perfect, and Mr. Cheerful. The French Little Misses that are available in English are Little Miss Busy, Little Miss Quick, Little Miss Wise, Little Miss Tidy, Little Miss Brainy, Little Miss Stubborn, Little Miss Curious, Little Miss Fun, and Little Miss Somersault.
After his father's death, Adam Hargreaves took over the Mr. Men. He now draws the characters and writes new stories for them.
A competition was held in the British Sunday Times newspaper for children to submit their own Mr. Men character for inclusion in a limited edition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the series. Mr. Cheeky, submitted by then eight-year-old Gemma Almond, was selected as the winning entry. Gemma's creation led to a book featuring her character being published; it was sold only in W H Smith branches, with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity supporting children with leukaemia.
In 2003 Adam created three new Mr. Men characters and three new Little Miss characters. He also created 'Little Miss Christmas' to accompany 'Mr. Christmas' after this book was rereleased with new illustrations.
In April 2004, Hargreaves' widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters to UK entertainment group Chorion for £28 million. In 2006, to celebrate 35 years of Mr. Men and 25 years of Little Miss, Mr. Birthday and Little Miss Birthday were published. In October 2006, Adam Hargreaves created the first Little Miss character based on a real person, Stella McCartney, which he named Little Miss Stella. This was published as a limited edition of 1,000 copies for use as fashion show invitations.
In 2011, Sanrio, the Japanese design company best known as the creators of Hello Kitty, announced that they had reached an agreement to acquire the rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters from Chorion after the company was forced into administration. This marked the first time that Sanrio had licensed a third-party character since owning the rights to Osamu Tezuka's Unico character in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which was returned to Tezuka Productions after Tezuka's death in 1989. Sanrio had also acquired the license to produce Peanuts merchandise for the Japanese market. In 2016, four new characters were launched to celebrate the series' 45th anniversary, Mr. Marvellous, Mr. Adventurer, Little Miss Fabulous and Little Miss Sparkle. In addition, Adam Hargreaves has created several commercial characters such as Mr. Glug for Evian water and Mr. First for money transfer company World First. In 2017, Adam Hargreaves launched a new series of books featuring characters from the BBC science fiction series, Doctor Who, with each book focusing on a different incarnation of the show's titular character.
Each book contains a title page, 16 to 18 text pages and 15 to 17 colour illustrations drawn with a Magic Marker. Where the name of the title Mr. Men character is too long to fit on the cover horizontally, instead of being in a reduced font size it curves down at the end. The typeface for the original books from Little Miss Bossy to Little Miss Star is Univers, with the books from Little Miss Busy to Little Miss Somersault using Helvetica. All the other books in the series use Optima. The books are paperback with dimensions of 14 cm x 12.6 cm. If all the books of each series are put together in order the words 'My Mr. Men library' or 'My Little Miss library' can be read across the spines and an illustration of Walter the Worm (Mr. Men) or a flower (Little Miss) can be seen.
The stories are set in a fictional universe called "Misterland", which is inhabited by the Mr. Men and Little Misses themselves, as well as some ordinary human characters such as shopkeepers, doctors and postmen. There are also various animals and Walter the Worm appears frequently. The characters are human in their behaviours and attributes.
There are 80 licensees selling Mr. Men and Little Miss products, including:
The following is a list of the book titles with year of first publication and associated ISBNs given in parenthesis. There are many more titles published as translations including works in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Greek, Icelandic, Hebrew, Mandarin, Korean, Irish and others.
These stories were published as Little Owl Storytime - The Children's Choice.
The Mr. Men characters were adapted into two animated television series in 1974 that consisted a total of 28 episodes. They were produced by Terry Ward's company, Flicks Films (formerly known as 101 Film Productions) in partnership with Trevor Bond and broadcast by the BBC. The voices and narration were provided by Arthur Lowe, best known from his role as Captain Mainwaring in the sitcom Dad's Army, who used regional accents for some of the characters. The musical theme was composed by Tony Hymas, Mr Men was also shown in the United States as part of the Nickelodeon series Eureeka's Castle.
The 28 episodes were:
During 1983, a further series featuring the Little Miss characters was produced by Flicks Films. This was narrated by husband and wife John Alderton and Pauline Collins. The theme song and credits was composed by Dave Cooke and Richard Everett. The 13 Little Miss episodes were:
When the episodes were first broadcast, they were paired with reruns of the 1974 Mr. Men series, the theme music and background music of said reruns were changed and rewritten to match the style of the Little Miss theme music. This was the first Mr. Men based series to air in the United States, getting 2 VHS releases from Warner Home Video with an American redub.
Another series, Mr. Men and Little Miss, was produced by Marina Productions in 1995 and originally aired on British and Irish television from 1995 to 1997; these stories were narrated by Arnold Stang aired on Nick Jr. and Channel 5's Milkshake! in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In 1996 the series was localised in the United States and Canada as The Mr. Men Show, this series incorporated live action segments as well as 3 episodes from the original series redubbed with American-Canadian voice actors. This version lasted only 1 season.
In 2006, Renegade Animation produced a series, The Mr. Men Show, a new American animated series which debuted on the Cartoon Network (US) and on Channel 5's Milkshake! (UK) programme in February 2008. There were only 25 characters featured in the first season, and most had their names or appearances altered. The Mr. Men Show was written and produced by Eryk Casemiro and Kate Boutilier, and directed by Mark Risley. The creative team was a combined effort of personnel from Nickelodeon's Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, and As Told by Ginger. The opening and closing narration was voiced by actor Simon Callow in the UK version and Jason Harris in the US version.
|VHS video title||Year of release||Episodes|
|Mr. Happy and Friends||May 1995||Mr. Happy, Mr. Silly, Mr. Jelly, Mr. Snow, Mr. Bounce, Mr. Forgetful, Mr. Funny|
|Mr. Bump and Friends||May 1995||Mr. Bump, Mr. Impossible, Mr. Daydream, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Small, Mr. Messy, Mr. Greedy|
|Mr. Topsy-Turvy and Friends||May 1995||Mr. Topsy-Turvy, Mr. Muddle, Mr. Mean, Mr. Noisy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Lazy, Mr. Chatterbox|
|Mr. Strong and Friends||May 1995||Mr. Strong, Mr. Sneeze, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Worry, Mr. Uppity, Mr. Dizzy, Mr. Grumpy|
|Mr. Greedy||August 2003||Mr. Greedy, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Dizzy|
|Mr. Tickle||August 2003||Mr. Tickle, Mr. Uppity, Mr. Snow, Mr. Sneeze|
|Mr. Funny||August 2003||Mr. Funny, Mr. Jelly, Mr. Bounce, Mr. Daydream|
|Mr. Happy||August 2003||Mr. Happy, Mr. Noisy, Mr. Messy, Mr. Forgetful|
|Mr. Nosey||August 2003||Mr. Nosey, Mr. Small, Mr. Lazy, Mr. Impossible|
|Mr. Strong||August 2003||Mr. Strong, Mr. Topsy-Turvy, Mr. Muddle, Mr. Mean|
|Mr. Bump||August 2003||Mr. Bump, Mr. Worry, Mr. Chatterbox, Mr. Silly|
|Mr. Men - Series One||August 2003||Mr. Happy, Mr. Silly, Mr. Jelly, Mr. Snow, Mr. Bounce, Mr. Forgetful, Mr. Funny, Mr. Bump, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Small, Mr. Messy, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Sneeze|
|Mr. Men - Series Two||August 2003||Mr. Strong, Mr. Daydream, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Worry, Mr. Uppity, Mr. Dizzy, Mr. Topsy-Turvy, Mr. Muddle, Mr. Mean, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Chatterbox, Mr. Noisy, Mr. Impossible, Mr. Lazy, Mr. Grumpy|
|Mr. Men - Complete Original Series||August 2003||Mr. Happy, Mr. Silly, Mr. Jelly, Mr. Snow, Mr. Bounce, Mr. Forgetful, Mr. Funny, Mr. Bump, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Small, Mr. Messy, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Sneeze, Mr. Strong, Mr. Daydream, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Worry, Mr. Uppity, Mr. Dizzy, Mr. Topsy-Turvy, Mr. Muddle, Mr. Mean, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Chatterbox, Mr. Noisy, Mr. Impossible, Mr. Lazy, Mr. Grumpy|
|Little Miss Splendid||August 2003||Little Miss Splendid, Little Miss Late, Little Miss Plump, Little Miss Helpful|
|Little Miss Tiny||August 2003||Little Miss Tiny, Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Naughty, Little Miss Trouble|
|Little Miss Magic||August 2003||Little Miss Magic, Little Miss Neat, Little Miss Scatterbrain, Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Shy|
|Little Miss - Complete Original Series||October 2003||Little Miss Splendid, Little Miss Late, Little Miss Plump, Little Miss Helpful, Little Miss Tiny, Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Naughty, Little Miss Trouble, Little Miss Magic, Little Miss Neat, Little Miss Scatterbrain, Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Shy|
In February 2011, it was reported that 20th Century Fox Animation was developing an animated feature film based on the Mr. Men book series, with Shawn Levy producing the film through his company 21 Laps Entertainment. On 27 January 2015, Fox Animation confirmed that it had acquired the film rights to the Mr. Men Little Miss characters.