On October 20, Royal Mail’s Mr Men & Little Miss issue will celebrate one of Britain’s most popular series of children’s characters, created by Roger Hargreaves.

With their bold, colourful designs and simple personality traits, they have have been enchanting children for more than 40 years, branching out from a successful series of books into television cartoons.

It all started when Hargreaves’ young son Adam innocently asked him: ‘What does a tickle look like?’ His father visualised a small orange man with absurdly long arms, drafted an illustrated story about him, and never looked back.

Mr Tickle was the first of 49 Mr Men characters he created, in 1971, while Little Miss Bossy heralded the start of the Little Miss series of 42 books in 1981. After his father’s death in 1988, Adam added more to the series, and more than 100 million books have now been sold worldwide.

All the stamps are based on the square-format front covers of the published books. The two which have the credit ‘Roger Hargreaves’ rather than ‘by Roger Hargreaves’ were written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves.

Available in set-tenent strips of five, the stamps were designed by Supple Studio and printed in litho by International Security Printers.

1st class MR HAPPY

The third book in the Mr Men series, published in 1971, features Mr Happy, who comes across Mr Miserable and helps him become happy.

1st class LITTLE MISS NAUGHTY

The second book in the Little Miss series, published in 1981, features Little Miss Naughty, who loves to play practical jokes.

1st class MR BUMP

The sixth book in the Mr Men series, published in 1971, features Mr Bump, who is alway having accidents.

1st class LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE

The fourth book in the Little Miss series, published in 1981, features Little Miss Sunshine, who teaches the King of Miseryland to laugh.

1st class MR TICKLE

The first book in the Mr Men series, published in 1971, features Mr Tickle, who goes around tickling people.

1st class MR GRUMPY

The 27th book in the Mr Men series, published in 1978, features Mr Grumpy, who lives in Happyland but is always in a bad mood.

1st class LITTLE MISS PRINCESS

The 35th book in the Little Miss series, published in 2011, features Little Miss Princess, who is kind and generous but not used to doing things for herself.

1st class MR STRONG

The 26th book in the Mr Men series, published in 1976, features Mr Strong, who gets his strength from eating lots of eggs.

1st class LITTLE MISS CHRISTMAS

The 33nd book in the Little Miss series, published in 2005, features Little Miss Christmas, who just loves Christmas.

1st class MR MESSY

The eighth book in the Mr Men series, published in 1972, features Mr Messy, who lives in a messy house until Mr Neat and Mr Tidy come round to change his ways.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack is written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves. A first day cover and stamp cards are available as usual, as well as a limited-edition Mr Tickle cover. Associated products include Smilers sheets and a retail stamp book.

 

PRICES

Set of 10 stamps   £6.40

Presentation pack   £6.90

Stamp cards   £4.50

First day cover   £8.10

First day cover (limited edition)   £14.99

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   1/5

The books are popular with children, but hardly great works of literature

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

The images are essentially book covers, as devised by the original publishers

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Colourful and eye-catching, the set looks ideal for party invitations and Smilers sheets