Roger Hargreaves was born in West Yorkshire, England in 1935 and had a fairly simple early life. His talent for art, particularly cartoon art, drove him to a career in illustrating, which he originally had no success with.
However, when his son asked him ‘what does a tickle look like’ he drew a round orange body with large squiggly arms, which became the inspiration for his first book Mr. Tickle, which he wrote in 1971.
This was the first book in the ‘Mr. Men’ series, which has accumulated 49 books and was made into a television series in 1975, narrated by Arthur Lowe.
Each of the ‘Mr. Men’s’ books follow strange characters through their day-to-day life and frequently encounter problems along the way. The characters will often interact with previously introduced Mr. Men characters, so children can begin to visualize a ‘Mr. Men’ land and learn more about social interaction, friendship, and love.
Other Mr. Men books include Mr. Greedy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Bump, Mr. Messy, Mr. Topsy Turvy, and Mr. Happy. These characters were drawn in bright colors and often had exaggerated body parts relating to their characterization. For example, Mr. Nosey has an extremely large nose and Mr. Greedy has an exaggerated stomach.
Following the success of his Mr. Men series, Hargreaves began writing a similar ‘Little Miss’ series in 1981, which followed similar female characters such as Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Giggles, Little Miss Chatterbox, and Little Miss Naughty. There were 33 books in this series and all received the same positive reception as his ‘Mr. Men’ books. This series was also made into a television series adaptation narrated by John Alderton.
He has written other notable works, often following the lives of talking animals, but he is most well-known as the writer of the ‘Mr. Men’ and the ‘Little Miss’ series. These books have been translated into many languages and have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide.
His books provide entertaining and imaginative characters that teach children basic rights and wrongs. There are plenty of brilliant children’s authors out there but few have created such an iconic series as the ‘Mr. Men’ or ‘Little Miss’ series that continue to be read and enjoyed by children worldwide even over 50 years after their original publication.
If you have loved the ‘Mr. Men’ or ‘Little Miss’ books, here are 20 of the best authors similar to Roger Hargreaves. We can’t promise you such a long and emblematic series of books, but each of these authors has created excellently-written, creative stories of their own which your children are bound to love!
Megan McDonald is an American children’s author best known for her ‘Judy Moody’ series. The books follow a girl called Judy Moody as she undergoes various adventures.
This series frequently refers to historical and scientific facts, making them great reads for children aged 5-13 who are not just interested in colors, rhymes, and pictures. Instead, McDonald interpolates history, science, comedy, and little life lessons into her adventure books that all follow the same, lovable character.
John Burningham was an English illustrator and children’s writer who produced a range of picture books following different characters on various outings.
He didn’t write a series of books following the same character or similar characters, instead, his books were all random. This meant that he was able to cover a significant amount of ground thematically.
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Known as one of the classic names in children’s literature, Frances Hodgson Burnett is probably most famous for her fantastic children’s book The Secret Garden.
This American-British author wrote in the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, producing fantastically creative and magical books for readers of all ages. Her other notable works include A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Her novels have been published worldwide and have made millions of sales since the time of writing.
Jill Barklem was a remarkably talented children’s author and illustrator. She is most famous for the Brambley Hedge series, which followed a village of mice, each with their own cozy cottage and sweet families.
The eight books in this series follow the lives of these little mice throughout different seasons. They are heartwarming stories filled with lovable characters and cute plotlines. The series was adapted into a television series called The Enchanted World of Brambly Hedge in 1996.
Michael Rosen is versatile, working as an activist, political columnist, poet, broadcaster, and children’s author. He carries a fantastic reputation as a writer, serving as Children’s Laureate from 2007 to 2009.
He has written many of his own works including Hampstead the Hamster, Rigatoni the Pasta Cat, and Barking for Bagels, as well as writing various retellings of previous favorites such as Bah Humbug!, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Aesop’s Fables, another retelling of the original with the same name.
Edward Packard is an American author best known for creating the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ concept, in which children reading the book can decide how the story pans out by choosing from various options.
The story is written from the secondary character’s perspective, so the reader can assume the role of the story’s protagonist.
There are over 50 books in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, which is guaranteed to engage with your child and get them thinking about stories, boost their creativity, and help with cerebral development.
This Taiwanese-American writer has promoted the inclusion of Asian diversity in American literature. She has written and illustrated over 20 books that predominantly follow the Asian-American experience.
Grace Lin’s books are a great way to introduce your child to racial inclusion and diversity from a young age. Her major works include Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Year of the Dog, and When the Sea Turned to Silver.
With a predominant focus on creativity and comedy, Adam Wallace’s books inspire children to read, write, and draw all while making them laugh, of course.
He is a USA Today, Amazon, and New York Times best-selling author and has inspired millions of children to adopt creative hobbies. His books include How to Catch the Tooth Fairy, How to Catch a Yeti, and Better Out Than In.
Astrid Lingren was a Swedish author most famous for creating the Pippi Longstocking series, which followed the life and adventures of a young, unconventional girl with iconic ginger plaits and unwavering curiosity.
She wrote shortly after the Second World War, up until her death in 2002. Although she wrote other books concerning other characters, Pippi Longstocking is how she is remembered. The series sold millions of copies worldwide and is still enjoyed today both by page and screen across the globe.
Better known as the comic book writer who created the Scarlet Witch and Starman, James Robinson’s work is targeted more at older children and YA audiences. His imaginative use of the supernatural creates characters enjoyed by children worldwide.
Judith Kerr was a German-British writer that has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. She is best known as the author who created the Mog The Cat series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which have been best-sellers since their publications in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Like many children’s authors, Kerr’s work predominantly centers around the lives of animals.
Arguably one of the most notable names in children’s writing, Dr. Seuss was an American cartoonist and author, who produced some of the most loved children’s books and characters in history.
His major works include The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Many of his stories have been made into motion picture adaptations, allowing for a modernized twist on the books and drawing in new audiences annually.
This English writer is known for her silly, playful stories that follow a selection of narratives and characters that offer fresh perspectives.
Her best books include Goodnight Tractor, How to Wash a Wooly Mammoth, There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes, and The World Made a Rainbow. Her books are jam-packed with creativity and are a light-hearted form of relaxation for many children worldwide.
Mary Noel Streatfield was a British writer best known for her books that are all named after shoes.
Her novel Ballet Shoes inspired the film of the same name starring Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige, and Lucy Boynton.
Anna Dewdney was an American author most famous for her Llama Llama series. These all follow the experiences, problems, and people encountered by a llama and incorporate rhyme, aimed at the younger audience.
Sheldon Silverstein was an author, poet, musician, cartoonist, and playwright who created lyrical poems to engage children with more complex themes.
This English author was best known for creating the Spot the Dog series. The dog, Spot, explores different places and carries out different activities.
With 52 titles to explore, Spot the Dog is a fantastic choice for young children, guaranteed to engage them with brightly colored illustrations and brilliant storylines.
Moving on to a writer suitable for an older readership, Philip Pullman creates brilliant fantasy books aimed at older children and YA readers. His Dark Materials uses themes of magic, good and evil, love, trust, and witchcraft to immerse his readers in a whole new world.
This series has made millions of sales and has now been made into a popular television series with the same name.
Enid Blyton is one of the most celebrated English children’s authors out there. She blends fantasy, friendship, and enchantment to create imaginative favorites adored by readers worldwide.
Since she began writing in the 1930s, her books have sold over 600 million copies, and her best works The Famous Five series and The Magic Faraway Tree series have been made into popular motion picture adaptations with the same names.
Finishing with a bang, we have the giant of children’s writing, Roald Dahl. Famous for creating child characters with unique and unusual encounters with mysterious objects and people, he is the writer that created Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
All of these works, alongside a large handful of his other best-sellers, have been made into films, television series, and theater productions, all of which have drawn new readers to the original books.
Those were 20 of the best children’s authors like Roger Hargreaves. The list included some of the most famous and well-recommended writers and stories, alongside some of the more niche authors for experienced readers who have read the classics!
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a good children’s book?
Creativity, imagination, colors, relatability, and likable characters are all contributing factors to good children’s books.
What age group are Hargreaves’ books aimed at?
The ‘Mr. Men’ and ‘Little Miss’ series are aimed at children aged 4-8.
Roald Dahl is frequently referenced as the most popular children’s author.
What is the most-read children’s book?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is known as the most-read children’s book of all time.
What attracts children to books?
Rhyming sounds and pictures are two of the things that children look for in a book, especially at a young age.
What are the most popular children’s books of all time?
1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
3. The Poky Little Puppy by Jannette Sebring Lowery
4. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
6. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
7. Tootle by Gertrude Crampton
8. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
9. Love You Forever Robert Munsch
10. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt