Happy Birthday, Mr Men!

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They may not look it, but the Mr Men and Little Miss characters have now turned 40.

Mr Tickle was the first of the cartoons created by Roger Hargreaves in 1971 in response to a question from his son Adam.

As they sat around the breakfast table, the then six-year-old asked his father what a tickle looks like.

Suddenly inspired, Roger went off and drew a little orange creature with strangely long arms and wrote a little story to go with him.

Mr Tickle was followed by Mr Greedy, Mr Nosey, Mr Happy, Mr Bump and Mr Sneeze - and the rest is history.

There are now 49 Mr Men and 36 Little Misses, which have sold 120 million books all over the globe.

"It is truly incredible that something so personal to my father went on to become such a global phenomenon. If he were alive today, I think he would be ecstatic to see how popular his creations have become," said Adam.

Sadly, Roger died in 1988, but Adam has now taken over the reins of his dad's creations, even bringing out new characters every so often.

One was Little Miss Princess, who made her debut to coincide with the royal wedding in April.

Adam recently told the Daily Telegraph that he finds Mr Happy hardest to draw, even though he is perhaps the simplest of the Mr Men, because he requires a perfect curve.

However, he also revealed he did not originally want to draw any of them, as he found the books "embarrassing" as a young man and rebelled against joining his father in making them.

It was not until his father died that Adam began to realise how important the children's stories are.

"I finally started to have real respect for what my father did. Yes, the stories are full of puns, and some of them are awful, but that was my father's sense of humour ... I get it now, he commented.

Mr Men fans may be pleased to know there will be a new movie about the characters in cinemas soon.

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