Daily Archives: February 1, 2012

With a Bump, Tickle and a Sneeze

A newbie blogger and visitor here to my blog Tee O has written a post about reading matter in the Throne Room, this brought a memory to mind….

It must be about forty years since Adam asked his father, “What does a tickle look like?”

What a wonderful question!

It became the inspiration for his father Roger Hargreaves to invent Mr. Tickle.  After initial rejections from publishers, Mr Tickle made it onto the bookshelves in 1971, and was soon followed with Mr. Greedy, Mr. Happy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Sneeze, Mr. Bump, Mr. Snow, Mr. Messy, Mr. Topsy-Turvy, and Mr. Silly. The books cost 20 old pennies each, and sold a million copies within three years.

Mr Tickle and all his friends in Mr. Men Land found their way into our home and our hearts when Elly was a toddler.  They brought fun and an early love of books to her, as I am sure they did, for many a young child.

My story goes back to those precious toddler days.  Miss Elly was fourteen months when she first walked.  Why would she try any sooner, when she could cross a football field faster than flash lightening? She moved like a crab using her two elbows and right knee to pull and push herself along.

She certainly didn’t want to stay in one spot for longer than two minutes when there was a myriad of wonders to explore.  I soon discovered that anything with pages held her attention. Books, magazines, colourful catalogues and advertising leaflets all played a part when I was potty training her, and later, while teaching her to sit on the throne.

The Mr Men Family were her favourites, so much so, that a stack of those books soon built up in the bathroom always at the ready to while away the time.

One evening Jack and I attended a fund raising dinner and dance for some charity. Our group filled a table.  As the evening was drawing to an end, we were still full of fun and conversation, nobody wanted the fun to end.  Since we were the only couple with a young child and needed to return and relieve our babysitter, I suggested we adjourn to our house for a nightcap. Everyone agreed.

Soon we were home, the fire flickered brightly and our glasses were charged, the party and the stories continued. One of the men slipped out of the room, he was rather fond of his pints and a bladder can only hold so much…

It was a good ten minutes before he rejoined the group.  His hands were full with the stack of Mr Men books. He announced to all that you got good value in our bathroom as he handed round the books to all our friends!  His children were all at various stages of university life, so perhaps they missed out on these wonderful books.

When Elly moved into her own home I half expected to find the walls of the downstairs bathroom to be book-lined.  Oops! George will kill me for reminding her of another job she might like him to do.  Please don’t tell her. 😉

In 2011 an anniversary edition box set became available with the first ten Mr. Men books in hardcover: Mr. Tickle, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Happy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Sneeze, Mr. Bump, Mr. Snow, Mr. Messy, Mr. Topsy-Turvy, and Mr. Silly.

I am surprised that Elly has not mentioned it – she could always put them in the bathroom!