"Happyland, The birds are happy, the worms are happy, the sun is happy."
Once upon a time, there was a man called Roger Hargreaves. In 1971, his son asked him the question, "What does a tickle look like?" he answered it by creating Mr. Tickle. This became the first in a series of books about the Mr. Men
and Little Misses
The series involves a various abstract people (mostly circles or other shapes with arms and legs
) who each have a distinctive characteristic which defines them, and are named after that characteristic (Mr. Forgetful, Little Miss Trouble, Mr. Wrong, Little Miss Wise, etc.) Each of the original books stars one of the characters, who has a brief adventure revolving around their character trait. And the sun has a face on some occasions.
There have been two animated series based on the books. The first The Mr. Men And Little Misses
was based closely on the original stories. The second, The Mr. Men Show
, is a sketch show featuring the characters.
From 2004 to 2011, the Mr. Men
characters have been owned by Chorion; as of 2012
, they are owned by Sanrio, the creators of Hello Kitty
Mr. Men provides examples of:
- An Aesop: Characters defined by negative traits such as Mr. Uppity and Little Miss Bossy usually learn better by the end of their own story.
- Aesop Amnesia: ...But when they reappear they still have these characteristics, because otherwise they wouldn't be that character any more.
- All Just a Dream:
- The title character in Mr. Daydream is, as one would expect, just a daydream of a bored schoolboy, and he is woken up by his teacher at the end of the book.
- During one of his many naps, Mr. Lazy has a nightmare about being ordered to do various exercises by Mr. Busynote and Mr. Bustle.
- Always Identical Twins: Little Miss Twins are a pair of identical twins; they are based on Roger Hargreaves' twin daughters, Sophie and Amanda.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The Mr. Men and Little Misses are drawn in a variety of bright colours. Just to name two for each colour of the spectrum, Mr. Strong and Little Miss Scatterbrain are red, Mr. Clever and Little Miss Fickle are orange, Mr. Happy and Little Miss Sunshine are yellow, Mr. Nosey and Little Miss Neat are green, Mr. Worry and Little Miss Bossy are blue, Mr. Impossible and Little Miss Naughty are purple, Mr. Greedy and Little Miss Tiny are pink, Mr. Dizzy and Little Miss Dotty are brown.
- Amusing Injuries: Mr. Bump.
- Arcadia: Happyland, Mr. Happy's homeland, is a country where the trees are a hundred feet tall, the sun shines brightly, and all the animals and even the flowers are smiling happily.
- Born Lucky: Little Miss Lucky.
- Big Eater:
- Mr. Greedy and his cousin, Little Miss Plump (later renamed Little Miss Greedy), are both defined by their enormous appetites.
- Mr. Strong has a huge appetite, but only for one food - eggs, the source of his incredible physical strength.
- The Chew Toy: Mr. Bump.
- Cloudcuckooland: Nonsenseland, home country of Mr. Silly and Mr. Nonsense, is a very strange place with equally odd inhabitants who would see our world as every bit as bizarre as we see theirs - in the book bearing his name, Mr. Silly wins a competition to come up with the silliest idea by painting the leaves of a tree green.note
- Cloudcuckoolander: Several of the Mr. Men and Little Misses seem to have disconnected their minds from the rest of their bodies.
- Mr. Muddle is so named because everything he does ends up in a hopeless muddle. He wanted to live in the countryside but got muddled and built his house by the seaside instead, and when he tries to make a roast dinner of turkey, potatoes, peas, and gravy, he puts the turkey in the cupboard to cook and the potatoes in the fridge to boil, then peels the peas and tries to slice the gravy.
- Little Miss Scatterbrain is constantly confusing the names of the other Mr. Men and Little Misses, and when she goes into town to buy sausages, she walks into a bank instead and asks for two pounds (of sausages), then wonders what the two notes the bank teller passes her are in aid of.
- Constantly Curious: Little Miss Curious, as her name indicates, has an unquenchable thirst for answers to all sorts of questions.
- Distaff Counterpart: The Little Misses to the Mr. Men in general and some Little Misses to specific Mr. Men (Mr. and Little Miss Chatterbox; Mr. and Little Miss Busy; Mr. Happy and Little Miss Sunshine; Mr. Greedy and Little Miss Plump; Mr. Small and Little Miss Tiny, etc.). Some of them are even explicitly stated to be brother and sister.
- The Ditz: Mr. Dizzy starts out living up to his name, coming up with bizarre answers to simple questions asked by a pig and an elephant purely to rub in how clueless he is (such as naming a mouse as a big animal with big ears). However, after drinking from a magic well, he becomes intelligent and turns the tables on them with style.
- Ditzy Genius: Despite being a brilliant inventor (and proud of it), Mr. Clever is completely clueless with emotional or sensory questions. When Mr. Happy asks him for the world's funniest joke, he admits to knowing no jokes; when Mr. Greedy asks him for the world's tastiest recipe, he admits to knowing no recipes; and so on. When he tries to return to Cleverland in shame, he walks off in the wrong direction.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Mr. Strong has an unfortunate habit of shutting his front and back doors so hard that they break off their hinges, and when he isn't paying attention to where he is going, anything in his path - a tree, a brick wall, etc. - ends up worse for wear.
- Every Girl Is Cuter with Hair Decs: The Little Misses. Even Little Miss Bossy.
- Eye Glasses: Mr. Clever and Little Miss Neat are among the few characters who avert Skintone Sclerae by wearing glasses, the lenses of which are completely filled by the whites of their eyes.
- Flight: One of Mr. Impossible's abilities; he simply stands outside and flaps his arms, and away he soars.
- Forgetful Jones: Mr. Forgetful has an absolutely terrible memory. When asked to tell Farmer Fields that one of his sheep is loose in the lane, he draws a blank when he actually encounters the farmer and instead tells him that a goose is asleep in the rain.
- Four-Fingered Hands: The Mr. Men and Little Misses only have four fingers on each hand.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Doing this to people is the whole of Mr. Tickle's character.
- Gentle Giant: Mr. Tall is very sensitive and self-conscious about his height, and has to be convinced by the other Mr. Men that his long legs are an advantage.
- Giant Food: In Mr. Greedy, the title character visits a giant's castle and finds a plate of sausages the size of sofas, potatoes the size of beach balls, and peas the size of cabbages.
- Grumpy Bear: Mr. Grumpy is rude and abrasive to everyone he meets, and regularly tears all of the pages out of a book in fits of unprovoked anger. The fact that he lives in Happyland, and is therefore the grumpiest person in town, does nothing to improve his mood (although it does bring him in contact with Mr. Happy, setting the events of his story in motion).
- Hates Baths: Mr. Messy, as befits his name, hates taking baths, and has to be forced into the bathtub in the final act of the book bearing his name. He jokes afterward that, now that he is no longer messy, he'll need to change his name.
- Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: When Mr. Chatterbox has no-one whose ears he can talk off, he resorts to holding conversations with himself, as though speaking to his own identical twin.
- Invisible Anatomy: Mr. Sneeze lacks visible arms, most characters lack visible noses, and almost every character lacks visible ears. This does not stop them from doing things that require their unseen body parts.
- Invisibility: Another of Mr. Impossible's abilities; if he concentrates hard enough, he becomes invisible. This comes in handy when Mr. Small enlists his help for the plan to make Little Miss Naughty start behaving herself; Mr. Impossible turns himself invisible and tweaks Little Miss Naughty's nose whenever she is about to wreak havoc.
- I Should Write a Book About This: At the end of Mr. Small, the title character is introduced to an author of children's books (all but stated outright to be Roger Hargreaves) and writes a book about himself, which the reader is informed is the very book s/he has just read.
- The Kiddie Ride: Jolly Roger made a Mr. Funny Car and a Mr,. Bump see-saw. OMC Electronics made a Mr. Happy train in limited production numbers.
- The Klutz: Several characters are defined by being hopelessly accident and/or injury prone.
- Mr. Bump is always wrapped in bandages from previous accidents. He smashes three windows of his house while trying to put a ladder against it to fix a chimney pot, and cannot hold down a job for more than a day without losing or breaking or otherwise damaging something.
- Little Miss Whoops, Mr. Bump's sister, is just as hapless as he is; she, too, is always wrapped in bandages from previous accidents.
- Mr. Clumsy repeatedly trips over his always untied shoelaces, knocking things flying as he lands. In his first appearance in Mr. Fussy as the title character's long lost cousin,note he drops and/or trips over so many things that he leaves his Super OCD relative's house a complete wreck.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The characters who appear to be simple shapes with human figures regularly interact with regular-looking humans.
- Living Polyhedron: The Mr. Men and Little Misses.
- Meaningful Name: All of them. The human characters have names like Doctor Makeyouwell.
- Mister Descriptor: The Mr. Men and Little Misses are all simply called "Mr./Little Miss (Personality or Appearance Trait)".
- Motor Mouth: Mr. Chatterbox and his sister Little Miss Chatterbox are both defined by talking non-stop, even when there is no-one available to listen. Mr. Chatterbox is ultimately broken of his habit by a magic hat that grows to giant size when he talks too much, while Little Miss Chatterbox finds her true calling as a live version of the speaking clock.
- No Indoor Voice:
- Mr. Noisy starts out living up to his name. However, the local shopkeepers start pretending they can't hear him unless he speaks at a normal volume, and he eventually stops shouting all the time.
- Little Miss Loud is a fellow Loudland resident of Mr. Noisy. As such, she only ever communicates by shouting at full volume.
- Power-Up Food: Mr. Strong gets his incredible strength from his diet of eggs, eggs, and more eggs.note
- The Scrooge: Mr. Mean has plenty of money, yet when his story begins, he has not painted or otherwise maintained his house for years, while he makes his furniture from old orange crates (and complains about the price of nails).
- Shrinking Violet: Mr. Quiet and his Distaff Counterpart Little Miss Shy. Mr. Quiet initially lives in Loudland (as does Mr. Noisy), where no-one can hear his almost inaudible voice, but later moves to Happyland at Mr. Happy's invitation and gets a job in a library. Little Miss Shy rarely ventures beyond her front garden, until Mr. Funny invites her to a party and she meets Mr. Quiet.
- Skintone Sclerae: Almost none of the Mr. Men or Little Misses are drawn with whites to their eyes (Mr. Sneeze is a notable exception).
- Snowlems: Mr. Snow is a snowman brought to life by Father Christmas to help him deliver presents; at the end of the book, the narrator claims that Father Christmas revives Mr. Snow via a different snowman every Christmas.
- Spiky Hair: Little Miss Scary is drawn with spiky hair to make her look suitably intimidating.
- Super OCD: Mr. Fussy spends endless hours straightening every last blade of grass in his garden, making sure the flowers are growing in perfectly straight rows, and picking the bits of orange rind out of an entire jar of marmalade. Needless to say, he does not react well when first Mr. Clumsy, then Mr. Bump show up at his house for a few days' visit.
- Super Strength:
- Mr. Strong's defining characteristic is his incredible physical strength. He lifts an entire barn, flips it upside down to fill it with water from a river, and carries the now much heavier barn to put out the fire consuming a farmer's cornfield. All without breaking a sweat.
- Some of Mr. Impossible's impossible feats involve super strength, such as kicking a football so high that it has snow on it when it returns to the ground.
- Title Theme Tune: The 1983 series. TWICE!
- Honestly, what else can the Mr. Men sing?