|Born||Charles Roger Hargreaves|
9 May 1935
Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England
|Died||11 September 1988 (aged 53)|
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
|Pen name||Roger Hargreaves|
|Notable works||Mr. Men, Little Miss, Timbuctoo|
|Notable awards||Best Books of the Year 1983|
|Children||Adam, Giles, Sophie, Amelia|
Charles Roger Hargreaves (9 May 1935 – 11 September 1988) was an English author and illustrator of children's books, best remembered for the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, intended for very young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have been part of popular culture since 1971, with sales of over 85 million copies worldwide in 20 languages.
Charles Roger Hargreaves was born in a private hospital at 201 Bath Road, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire on 9 May 1935 to Alfred Reginald Hargreaves and Ethel Mary Hargreaves. He grew up at 703 Halifax Road, Hartshead Moor, Cleckheaton, outside of which there now is a commemorative plaque.
Hargreaves attended Sowerby Bridge Grammar School (now Trinity Academy Sowerby Bridge). He then spent a year working in his father's laundry and dry-cleaning business before gaining employment in advertising. His original ambition was to be a cartoonist, and in 1971, while working as the creative director at a London firm, he wrote the first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle. Initially he had difficulty finding a publisher, but once he did the books became an instant success, selling over one million copies within three years. In 1974 the books spawned a BBC animated television series, narrated by Arthur Lowe. A second series the following year saw newer titles transmitted in double bill format with those from the first series.
By 1976, Hargreaves had quit his day job. In 1981 the Little Miss series of books was launched, and in 1983 it also was made into a television series, narrated by Pauline Collins, and her husband John Alderton. Although Hargreaves wrote many other children's stories—including the Timbuctoo series of 25 books, John Mouse and the Roundy and Squarey books—he is best known for his 46 Mr. Men and 33 Little Miss books.
Between 1975 and 1982 Hargreaves lived with his family on Guernsey. Then they settled at Sussex House Farm near Cowden, Kent. Hargreaves died on 11 September 1988, at the age of 53, at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Royal Tunbridge Wells, following a stroke. He was buried in Cowden, East Sussex. Locals say that there was not enough room in the grave yard at Cowden Church, but that he'd already bought the adjacent field so that he, and others, could be laid to rest there. After his death, his son Adam continued writing and drawing the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters with new stories (while signing the covers in his father's signature). In April 2004, Hargreaves's widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men characters to the UK entertainment group Chorion, for £28 million. In December 2011, Chorion sold the Mr. Men brand and its associated merchandise business to Japan's Sanrio.
Hargreaves and his wife had four children: Adam, Giles and twins Sophie and Amelia. The first of the Mr. Men characters is reported to have been created when Adam, at age 6, asked his father what a tickle looked like. Hargreaves drew a figure with a round orange body and long rubbery arms, which became Mr. Tickle. He recalls that his father was 6 ft 5in (1.96 m) tall. The book Little Miss Twins was written for Hargreaves' twin daughters.
Some Mr. Men books have Hargreaves drawn in them. He appears in: