Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters became familiar images to many young children, through either the books that their British author Roger Hargreaves published or the animated cartoons that appeared on the Television to seemingly bring their adventures and misadventures to life. Now it seems that they are destined to appeal to a wider audience, with the news that Fox Animations have bought the rights to the colourful assortment of characters.

They look to be in safe hands, as the studio were behind the Ice Age films, and it is expected that Shawn Levy will produce the first in what is planned to be a series of Mr.

Men adventures adapted for the big screen. Levy is most famously linked with the production and direction of the zany and wonderfully popular Night at the Museum films, starring Ben Stiller, the late Robin Williams and Britain's Steve Coogan, among others in a fine cast list. Given that he was able to bring an assortment of museum animals and exhibits to life to allow their adventures to flourish, he should be able to reflect the Mr. Men characters' conquests in a warm but amusing manner.

Hargreaves' began writing his Mr. Men books for a children's audience way back in 1971 and by the time he had finished his exploration of the various novelty shapes and expressions that they displayed, he had completed 49 books in total.

Their names were simplicity itself, always possessing the "Mr" in their title, and so it was that such as Mr. Tickle and Mr. Happy came into the world to inspire the imaginations of children throughout the land and to educate them morally. Each of the names typified the personalities and physical qualities that they possessed.

He expanded the concept in the early 1980s to depict the accompanying Little Miss characters, writing 42 books on their adventures. The author died in 1988, but his son Adam continued his work after his death and built on four new characters that his father had begun work on before he died.

The books spawned several television series that were originally narrated by the famous Dad's Army actor, Arthur Lowe, and in later incarnations, the Little Misses also came to life on the silver screen.

The novelty characters proved to be a tremendous success all across the world, with more than 120 million copies of the books (alone) being sold, as the stories were translated into fifteen different languages.