Originally published on Early Bird Books
Imagine all the fictional characters you would have spent time with as a kid, had they not been so fictional—or better yet, if you had been. We’ve picked out characters we think our childhood selves would have surely enjoyed being besties with. From wizards to rich kids, this list is made up of characters that would have made our everyday kid lives an absolute adventure. If you’re not familiar with some of these great pals, revisit your bookshelf and discover what it’s like to imagine along with these fantastic authors.
Eloise from Eloise, by Kay Thompson
If you were liable to cause trouble as a kid, then you would have gotten along swimmingly with Eloise—a young girl who comes to life in her self-titled series of children’s books, written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. Even without us as her friend, Eloise manages throughout her stories to get into the hair of everyone working at the Plaza hotel—which is where she lives. Did we mention she lives on the very top floor of this luxury hotel? Besides access to her beautiful penthouse, being friends with Eloise would be non-stop fun and games—what child could resist?
Matilda from Matilda, by Roald Dahl
Matilda is the adorable child genius we all fell in love with as kids. Whether it’s because you related to the tragic nature of her story that featured harshly neglectful parents or were simply astonished by her genius and insatiable reading habits, she was a character that quickly resonated with anyone who happened upon her. This all culminates into Matilda being a character we would have adored being friends with. From the pranks we would’ve pulled using her telepathic abilities to the long afternoons of just reading next to each other in our living room, anyone could easily have seen becoming life-long friends with Matilda.
Arrietty Clock from The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
Published in 1952, The Borrowers is a children’s book that once immersed us in the fantastic world of a family of little people living within the walls and floors of a quaint English home in which they often “borrow” the items of their much larger human housemates. Arrietty Clock is the teenage daughter of this family of borrowers and she often causes chaos by talking to and creating relationships with the “human beans.” Arrietty would’ve been a great friend to have as a kid because of her natural sense of adventure, even if we were 100 times bigger than her at any age. Her wild spirit could have kept us young forever.
Jesse Aarons and Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Although a frequently censored and banned book from the US to Australia, Bridge to Terabithia gave child readers a sense of wonder and heartbreak with the story of two kids, Jesse Aarons and Leslie Burke, who invent a fantastic world in their local woods to escape everyday life. Any kid would have immediately jumped at the chance to join these two—running through the trees and fighting an invisible evil. Just watch out for the twenty-foot trolls!
Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
If you didn’t get to read this classic while you were growing up, your childhood may have been a little less colorful. Crockett Johnson’s tremendously successful series of illustrated books based around the curious four-year-old Harold, who could draw anything into reality with his purple crayon, pushed all kids to color outside of the lines. Not only would we have wanted to get a hold of that amazing crayon, but who could have pushed our imaginations farther than Harold?
Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
Clearly, any character from this series would have been a treat to have as a friend growing up (with the exception of the Dementors …), but it’s easy to say that twins Fred and George Weasley would have been at the top of that list. A lot of us have had pretty wild older siblings, but I’m sure they pale in comparison to the Weasley twins. Their tendency to be foot-deep in trouble, whether it’s selling contraband magical items or pranking the headmistress, would have been a welcome addition to any of our childhoods.
Hugo Cabret from The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Brian Selznick’s ambitious novel combines elements of prose and picture book to create a narrative that relies as much on the illustrations as it does on the words. Hugo Cabret is the son of an inventor and machinist who passed away mysteriously in a fire during the novel. Hugo carries on his father’s spirit by becoming an able tinkerer himself, while also befriending a girl named Isabelle. Hugo’s loyalty and ability to create would have made a great friend to have while you were a kid, someone that would stick by you through thick and thin.
Judy and Peter Shepherd from Jumanji, by Chris Vans Allsburg
Judy and Peter Shepherd from the wild book Jumanji would have made pretty ordinary friends since they are, after all, normal everyday teenagers. That is, until they release a jungle world from a magical game board. It might be pretty crazy, and very dangerous, but being friends with these two would never be dull. The bonding the three of you would do between dodging bullets from a trigger-happy hunter to trying to outrun the stampede of animals would no doubt result in an amazing and true friendship.
Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
He may be one of the more timid creatures from C.S. Lewis’ fantastic world of Narnia, but Tumnus would have undoubtedly made a tremendously kind and noble childhood friend. This is easy to see in the way Lucy Pevensie crawls into Narnia and becomes quick friends with the fawn who is always willing to offer her into his home for hot tea. As the story goes on, we see how brave and loyal of a friend Tumnus can be—often sacrificing himself to save others. Truly, there are not many others we would have rather visited regularly through the wardrobe than this kind half-human, half-deer gentleman.
Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
Milo is the bored protagonist of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth who, out of nothing else to do one afternoon, ventures into the Kingdom of Wisdom using a magic tollbooth. This world filled with clever idioms teaches Milo the joys of learning after he helps to save it. It’s safe to say as kids all of us were stuck bored in our rooms with nothing to do at some point, so it would have been nice to have a friend like Milo to take us to Juster’s fantastic world. Perhaps we all would have come to appreciate words, mathematics, and logic a lot more when we were younger if we had a Milo to show us the glory and delight of the Kingdom of Wisdom.
Featured image courtesy of http://www.theplazany.com/eloise/.