It is hard to believe that Mr Men & Little Misses are 45 years old! Created by writer and illustrator Roger Hargreaves for his young son, Adam, the series has become an international cultural phenonmenon since its launch more than four decades ago. Adam took over the reins of the Mr Men empire after his father’s death in 1988, and to this day, he is still creating new characters for the series.
When I was a child, I used to love reading the adventures of the different characters because they were all so distinctive and humourous in their own ways. When I found out about the pop-up mini museum at the Oxo Tower, I was keen to visit in order to evoke some childhood memories. Yet it was only the last day of the exhibition – a bank holiday Monday – that I managed to get my gear together, dragging my friend along with me.
We arrived just after lunch time, and there was a long queue of families with kids and nostaglic adults. We were put off by the queue, and so we left for some food and drinks nearby. Later, we returned again to find that the queue had dissipated by half, and so we decided to wait in line.
It didn’t take too long for us to be let in, and once inside, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Although the gallery space was not huge, and the exhibits were slightly incoherent, I was still delighted to see characters that I have known for most of my life. While reminiscing with my friend about the books I used to own, I noticed that I was surrounded by middle aged adults who were looking more excited than their children!
I think what makes the series so successful is partly due to the simple, colourful and original graphics or cartoon style; and partyly due to the humane aspect of the characters, since none of them are perfect. They are all flawed, but they have to learn, live and grow with their other imperfect friends.
The museum also exhibited the new TFL posters, a new collaboration between Mr. Men Little Misses and TfL that launched in June. I particularly love the one featuring Little Miss Stubborn (see above)! Besides the tube posters, there is also a new merchandise range including children’s stationery, wall art and gifts available to buy from the Transport Museum shop.
Long live Mr Men and Little Miss! And I can’t wait for the 50th anniversary activities!