What exactly does a tickle look like ?

What exactly does a tickle look like ?

I have such strong memories, of coming home at lunchtime as a small child and being mesmerised by the tv images and reassuring tones  of Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe recounting the simple but engaging tales of  Roger Hargreaves Mr. Men. What a treat ! 

There’s a  timeless quality and some real magic to the Mr. Men, first created in 1971 but still going strong today and to think it all started with a tickle ! 

The story goes that Roger’s young son asked his Dad  one of those questions that make perfect sense to a child, “ What does a tickle look like ? “ . Not sure how you would reply to this but after a chuckle and a think, Roger with his natural artistic talent drew his answer and the first Mr. Man, Mr Tickle was born. 

The illustrations are so evocative of the seventies with their bright colours and cute style and are so memorable, especially the drawings of the natural world. They definitely had an influence on me as I still draw flowers and trees in the same style as Roger Hargreaves to this day. 

I love how simple but thought through the Mr Men characters are, Mr Fussy with his neat hair and moustache and Mr Clumsy who is as physically his polar opposite as his personality!  So clever. 

I’ve never been much of an artist but I used to spend hours copying the characters from the back of the books and carefully colouring them in. Mr Messy was always my favourite to draw because he was the easiest, made as he is from glorious pink scribbles . 

Mr Messy is one of my favourite Mr. Men but is it only me who feels really sad when he loses his messy scribbles and becomes a bland pink blob after his visit from Mr. Neat and Mr. Tidy. 

It’s a makeover gone too far in my mind! They should have just tidied the house . 

That aside  I can see why  their appeal has lasted over 50 years and still endures  today. I read them myself, with my son and you never know,  maybe one day I’ll read them with my grandchildren.



Illustrations taken from Mr Jelly 1976 edition and Mr Messy 1972 edition 

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1 comment

Brilliant post, which made me chuckle! And although I’m not a messy person at all, Mr. Messy is my favourite too! xxx

Ann Polyester Princess

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