"Кто не знает дядю Стёпу? Дядя Стёпа всем знаком..."
And the truth is, everyone is familiar with him! Everyone knows that he is "Stepan Stepanov", also known in his district under the nickname of Каланча (Watchtower), and the children call him Uncle Styopa.
Uncle Styopa has been created by poet Sergei Mikhalkov in the 1930s. At that time, он написал весёлую и добрую книжку о весёлом и добром великане (S. Mikhalkov wrote a funny and kind book of children poetry about a funny and kind giant).
Even the youngest children could easily understand the poems, and would ask adults to read them aloud again and again until they could know by heart. The book describes funny incidents that happen with uncle Styopa, a man of unusual height. It tells how в кинотеатре ему приходится сидеть на полу (he has to sit on the floor when going to the cinema), how на карнавале (during carnival), хоть он и прячется под маской (even though he's hiding under a mask), все его узнают (everyone can recognise him). It is only natural to laugh at Uncle Styopa, because of his size and also, of course, because the book is really funny.
But you know, книга не только весёлая, она ещё и серьёзная (the book is not only funny, it is also serious). S. Mikalkov's message to all the children through his character is the following: if you have any talent, use it to help others and make them happy!
Who but Uncle Styopa could unleash the paper kite from the electrical line? Who stopped the train before it reaches the broken part of the railway? During the parade, Uncle Styopa carries kids on his shoulders to allow them seeing everything. Uncle Styopa is doing everything to help what ordinary-sized people can't do.
Being so good and healthy, he naturally joined милиция (the militsiya). With his tall size, he could see everything around and could give a helpful hand to the ones in need while hooligans feared him.
"Все Степану благодарны: Спас он птиц и потому Стать немедленно пожарным Все советуют ему."
Of course, since 2011, полиция has replaced милиция (the police) but Uncle Styopa is still remembered by all and on November 10, when we celebrate the Day of the Russian Militsiya, you can hear many children reciting poems about Uncle Styopa.
Uncle Styopa has been created by poet Sergei Mikhalkov in the 1930s. S. Mikhalkov wrote a funny and kind book of children poetry about a funny and kind giant.