Roger Hargreaves (May 9, 1935 – September 11, 1988) was an English author and illustrator of children’s books, best remembered for the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, intended for very young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have been part of popular culture since 1971, with sales of over 85 million copies worldwide in 20 languages.
Hargreaves’ original ambition was to be a cartoonist and, in 1971, while working as the creative director at a London firm, he wrote the first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle. Initially he had difficulty finding a publisher, but once he did the books became an instant success, selling over one million copies within three years. In 1974 the books spawned a BBC animated television series, narrated by Arthur Lowe. A second series the following year saw newer titles transmitted in double bill format with those from the first series.
By 1976, Hargreaves had quit his day job. In 1981 the Little Miss series of books was launched, and in 1983 it also was made into a television series, narrated by Pauline Collins, and her husband John Alderton. Although Hargreaves wrote many other children’s stories—including the Timbuctoo series of 26 books, John Mouse and the Roundy and Squarey books—he is best known for his 46 Mr. Men and 33 Little Miss books.
Hargreaves died following a stroke. After his death, his son Adam continued writing and drawing the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters with new stories (while signing the covers in his father’s signature).
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