MR MEN, the iconic children's book series featuring the likes of Mr Bump, Little Miss Sunshine and Mr Small is celebrating its 40th birthday today (10th August 2011). Author ROGER HARGREAVES created the first character - Mr Tickle - in 1971, and the books have since sold over 120 million copies worldwide.

Still hugely popular today, Hargreaves creations made him the third bestselling author of the decade (2000-2009), behind literary heavyweights Jk Rowling and Dan Brown. Roger famously created the very first character after his son Adam asked him, "Daddy what does a tickle look like?" Speaking on the 40th milestone, his now 47-year-old son said, "It is truly incredible that something so personal to my father went on to become such a global phenomenon. If he were alive today, I think he would be ecstatic to see how popular his creations have become." Having been translated into 15 different languages, Mr Men's appeal is global and stars of the stage, screen and the arts in general have often cited their importance. Fashion icon Stella Mccartney appeared as Little Miss Stella in 2006, while Paul Smith once made a suit inspired by Mr Tickle. Mr Men hasn't been short of birthday messages this week, with British boy-band JLS noting, "Happy Birthday Mr. Men - we are all big fans. We've worked out we are Mr. Happy (JB) Marvin is (Mr. Tall) Mr. Small (Aston) and Mr. Strong (Oritse)"

Meanwhile, the Mr Men Party Road Show Live is currently touring the UK and Nails Inc are launching a range of nail polishes inspired by the much-loved characters. Elsewhere, department store Selfridges is marking the anniversary with a fully branded "pop up store".