The first six Mr Men books were published in United Kingdom in 1971 and cost just 20 pence each. Each book in the original Mr Men and Little Miss series introduced a different title character and his/her single dominant personality to convey a simple moral lesson. The Mr Men and Little Miss characters often pop up in the stories of other characters. The secret to the success of the books seems to be:
The very simple stories.The brightly-coloured simple illustrations (there is little clutter).The pictures and story tend to tell the same story, while this isn’t usually the mark of great picture books; it means very young children can ‘read’ the stories themselves once they have heard them once or twice.The moral lessons appeal to parents and are accessible to children.The books are small like the children themselves.They have simple literal humour; some would say slapstick.
The books have sold over 100 million worldwide, have been translated into over 20 languages and the images have been used in many places as part of other merchandise and promotion. Many children have also grown up enjoying the TV series.
Hopefully many readers enjoyed Google's 16 different 'doodles' as a tribute to the 'Mr Men' books in their 40th year, that coincided with Hargreaves' birth date (9th May 1935) with .