Generally if you work in publishing, you like books. It’s kind of a given thing.
So with a quick whip round the office, we’ve made a list of our favourite children book characters over the years, following from the recent survey commissioned by the Reading Agency.
Mel Beeby – Angels Unlimited Series – Annie Dalton
Written for the late primary school, early secondary school ages. Melanie (Mel) Beeby, the main protagonist, is a teenager but get this, she’s currently (and permanently) in Heaven. Heaven is this lively and vibrant city, protected by the Agency. Mel’s training station. Thus ensues training and time-travel to counter and protect against the POD or Power of Darkness to you and me. Problem solving, angel style.
Thomas the Tank Engine – The Railway Series – Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher Awdry
Thomas has survived the decades, beginning in the mid-20th century and still going strong today. Following the story and adventures of Thomas, a little blue train, and his friends. Thomas has been adapted for TV and film, and with Christopher taking over his father’s work in the early 90s, Thomas is still very much alive today for a new generation. The stories are very much based upon real-life events and the stories were to be realistic as possible. A group of stories with morals and life lessons for all, if you can get over the talking trains that is.
Fred – Fred and Friends series – Angela O’Donnell
A favourite here at Olympia, Fred is a loveable but curious sausage dog, and is always up for an adventure. Fred is currently on his third adventure with us here at Olympia, and he is such a loveable character both in the books and in real life, that we’re bound to see more of him. Many of Fred’s adventures involve helping people, a great lesson for all. And with many new characters popping up in Fred’s books, a great series for all, even cat lovers.
Captain Underpants – Captain Underpants series – Dav Pilkey
Superheroes. Pretty much wherever you turn, you see one. Either on TV, the big screen or, well, in books. Aimed at early to late teenagers, the Captain Underpants series revolves around two fourth graders (note, it’s by an American Author), George and Harold, and Captain Underpants, named for his attire, created by the boys in their homemade comic books. The catch is, he becomes real when they hypnotise (wait, what?!) their megalomaniacal (mean) principal, Mr Krupp – he drinks some alien juices (again, what?!), gains superpowers and Captain Underpants is born. Basically it’s a Jekyll and Hyde kinda thing. Can we get a hell yeah for hypnotising mean principals!
Ratty – Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
The oldest book in our list, published in the early 20th century, Wind in the Willows focuses on the lives of four anthropomorphised animals (a badger, toad, mole and a water rat) in pastoral version of England. Ratty is the kinda laid back sort of friend we all need, always ‘bobbing along the river’, having picnics and finding a good book to read or an area of shade to take a nap in. A smart and rather dapper old thing, Ratty and his friends have earned a place of still being a sought after and well-read book, with TV and film adaptations bringing the book into the minds of 21st century readers.
Willy Wonka – Charlie and the chocolate factory – Roald Dahl
Now whenever someone says the name, Willy Wonka, you may think of Johnny Depp’s weird and rather strange adaptation of him in the 2010 film (Burton's creation), or Gene Wilder’s adaptation in the first film released in 1971 (not Time Burton's creation). Either way, we can all agree that Wonka was a weird character, especially after Tim Burton’s film. The world of Wonka was a fantabulous place, with nothing less of a candy (read edible) land and the first minions, Oompa-Loompas. The fact that weird things keep happening to the children who visits his factory may seem worrying, I mean you have to love Wonka – he makes candy! Right! Right?
Cat in the Hat – Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss
If a tall anthropomorphic cat arrived at your house with a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie, you’d let him in right? As well as a talking cat, these children have a talking fish and well, don’t get me started on thing 1 and thing 2, the little monsters (not literally) that cause all these amazing and problematic things to happen. Another book with lessons, this book captures the imaginations of all that read it. I mean a Cat in a Hat, who’d imagine that?
Hiccup – How to train your Dragon Series – Cressida Cowell
Set in the age of Vikings, this series follows the life of Hiccup and Toothless. Many will know them from the two films released, but others will know them from this series. Thought to be just a scrawny kid, Hiccup becomes the brilliant Viking we know today. Smart Kid. He teaches himself a lot about dragons, and his readers. Adventures of a lifetime, who could ask more?
Thumble Tumble – Thumble Tumble and the Ollpheist – A H Proctor
Thumble Tumble is a witch, no, not like the Worst Witch or Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, she’s the creation of A H Proctor, the smallest witch you’d ever see. With adventures including the likes of Deer Folk, other witches and Sea Dragons, Thumble Tumbles world is based in the mysterious (to some) Isle of Arran in the rocky sea of Scotland. Magical to say the least.
Paddington - Paddington Bear Series – Michael Bond
This loveable bear is another childhood character that has been adapted for the big screen and some much needed screen time. Paddington is such a loveable character, with the inquisitive mind, he gets himself in a fair bit of trouble, something which allows us to have a bit of a chuckle at his escapades. But before he can jet off on his, sometimes sudden adventures, it’s time for tea with marmalade sandwiches.