Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Books with Naughty Main Characters

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    109

    Books with Naughty Main Characters

    I'm looking for examples of books for ages 4 - 8 with naughty main characters. Not evil ones, just ones who go get into trouble, such as Curious George, or Harold and the Purple Crayon (even though he doesn't get into trouble, his parents couldn't have been too happy with him drawing on the wall).

    Most of the examples I've thought of, such as those two (Curious George and Harold) are books that were written a while ago. I wonder whether editors no longer buy a book that they think might make a child more likely to misbehave.

    What books can you think of for fairly young kids where the main character is mischievous?

    Thanks in advance,
    Anne

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    8,097
    Horrid Henry

    The 'No, David!' series...

  3. #3
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    7,634
    Quote Originally Posted by Bookmama View Post
    I wonder whether editors no longer buy a book that they think might make a child more likely to misbehave.
    Not in my experience - editors tend to be less worried than parents about that sort of stuff. I quite often see reviews of certain picture books we and others publish that suggest they don't have a moral. (People attack The Gruffalo for promoting lying!) The American picture book market does seem more interested in moralising than the UK one.

    Horrid Henry is a good example of a big recent UK series about a mischievous kid.

  4. #4
    Eight Legs, All Holding Pens ArachnePhobia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Surrounded by bats and owls... really!
    Posts
    993
    Not recent, but it does have a pretty naughty MC and was my dad's favorite book when he was a child: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
    ~The Worms Crawl In The Worms Crawl Out~

  5. #5
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    11,615
    One of my childhood favorites was Zeee, by Elizabeth Enright. Zeee was a little bad fairy whose beautiful homes kept getting trashed by oblivious humans and she would take revenge on them in various creative ways.

  6. #6
    careful...you'll end up in my novel RuthD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    1,273
    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    One of my childhood favorites was Zeee, by Elizabeth Enright. Zeee was a little bad fairy whose beautiful homes kept getting trashed by oblivious humans and she would take revenge on them in various creative ways.
    Oh, yes, Zeee! I loved her, too.

    And there's Rotten Ralph. Did anyone mention Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?

    My nephew, who is 6, is addicted to Ivy & Bean, and his favorite parts are when they misbehave and get in trouble. Clementine is mischievous, too. Actually, I think a naughty, misbehaving, rebellious, or nonconforming main character is practically obligatory in kid lit, from PB through MG (and YA, too, I suspect). The more outrageous, the better. Who wants to read about The Perfect Child? Readers relate to characters who make mistakes or make wrong choices.
    Last edited by RuthD; 01-18-2013 at 04:33 AM.
    My blog: Readatouille

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    495
    I agree. Horrid Henry is a huge hit in the UK, with a TV series, stage show etc. My kids love it.

    I know some parents are anti poor Henry, saying that he promotes bad behaviour, but I think they underestimate their children. Kids know what is fiction and what is real. Where's the interest in books about perfect kids? Perfect Peter, Henry's brother, is only interesting because of Henry's antics.

    A lot of lower MG fiction has 'naughtiness' as a main theme. Roscoe Riley starts every book sitting in time out, then he tells the story of how he got there.
    website: www.nicolacall.com
    twitter: @nicolajcall

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    495
    I'm smiling to myself, hoping we're right. My current MG DORKBOY has a younger brother, Flea, who is unconventional to the extreme, doing his art project on the dog and giving the cat a mohawk........... naughty, much?
    website: www.nicolacall.com
    twitter: @nicolajcall

  9. #9
    and she was never seen again zahra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    London and Florida
    Posts
    1,977
    I remember Enid Blyton had a few - the 'Amelia Jane' books, and 'The Naughtiest Girl in the School' books. Also there's the Dorothy Edwards 'My Naughty Little Sister' books, the Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge, and the famous 'Just William' books. All of these are UK books and pretty darn elderly!
    WIP horror
    FREETS Editing
    WATCH ALL NIGHT Editing
    OPEN HOUSE About to start
    UNEARTHED You're next, love.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    109
    Thanks everyone, these are GREAT. I had forgotten about No, David! and never heard of Horrid Henry. I read the Inside this Book just now for one of the Horrid Henry titles and was hooked. What a great concept.

    Can anyone else think of more?

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    495
    OMG, Horrid Henry's Nits is about the funniest kids' story I've ever read. I read it aloud to my gang regularly, and can't stop laughing as I read. I love all HH stories, but that one is by far the best.

    The audio CDs are fabulous too. I can listen to them over and over, unlike most audios.
    website: www.nicolacall.com
    twitter: @nicolajcall

  12. #12
    Reads more than she writes. AW Moderator Smish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    in the Bouncy Castle
    Posts
    8,627
    The Judy Moody books and the Clementine books are my favorites. The Time Warp Trio books are also lots of fun.
    Revision is where you earn your money - and if you haven't made any money yet, revision is where you pay your dues. Sara Zarr

  13. #13
    A WIP Ton Lew Lepsnaci's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Near the waves
    Posts
    783
    Pippi Longstocking? Not recent of course.
    To tell is human - writing for kids, YA & Y@Heart

    It is less important to please people who don't like your book than to please people who do, because it is better to have something people love than something they merely don't hate.

    --H. Jones

  14. #14
    Mentoring Myself and Others Debbie V's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    2,663
    Olivia, recent and naughty. She does paint on the wall as I recall.
    Lilly and the Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Lilly gets in trouble in school.
    The How Do Dinosaurs... books contain some naughtiness to start, but then show the correct behavior.
    Add Horrible Harry to the chapter books. There's some naughtiness between Harry and Sid. Those boys do not like each other.

  15. #15
    Alas, poor Yorick, he fed me 'nanas DavidBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,267
    Horrid Henry is a brilliant series - sometimes the books get repetitive, but that's only to be expected when you've written so many shorts in the same vein.

    In my younger days I also devoured the classic JUST WILLIAM and the probably lesser known (but no less hilarious) JENNINGS books. Obviously not modern by today's standards, never underestimate the power of reading and extrapolating for a modern audience.

    Best of luck,

    Dave
    Mr Stuffenfluff - My FIRST attempt at horror for over a decade. Feedback welcome!

    Authors warn me writing children's books is a lot of work - signings, school events, literary festivals, a blog, etc. I always reply "I WANT THAT!"

    I don't claim to be a professional (yet). I just try and help others when and where I can.

    Follow me @symplesymon

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    495
    Oh gosh, I'm going to look up Just William for my kids. I loved those books when I was a kid. Wasn't there a TV series too?
    website: www.nicolacall.com
    twitter: @nicolajcall

  17. #17
    Alas, poor Yorick, he fed me 'nanas DavidBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,267
    Yes, there was. Don't remember much other than it was on CITV.

    But seriously, look up Jennings as well. Just as brilliant.
    Mr Stuffenfluff - My FIRST attempt at horror for over a decade. Feedback welcome!

    Authors warn me writing children's books is a lot of work - signings, school events, literary festivals, a blog, etc. I always reply "I WANT THAT!"

    I don't claim to be a professional (yet). I just try and help others when and where I can.

    Follow me @symplesymon

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    california
    Posts
    5,673
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthD View Post
    Actually, I think a naughty, misbehaving, rebellious, or nonconforming main character is practically obligatory in kid lit, from PB through MG (and YA, too, I suspect). The more outrageous, the better. Who wants to read about The Perfect Child? Readers relate to characters who make mistakes or make wrong choices.
    This, exactly. I'm having trouble thinking of any books that don't celebrate resistance or non-conformity in some way.

    Some others not yet mentioned:
    Junie B. Jones
    Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (she isn't particularly naughty, but the whole plot is about her resisting what she's supposed to do, in order to save her family)
    represented by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Most happy.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    109
    I'm starting to think my children's book reading is not nearly as extensive as I once thought. Just William is another popular series that I was entirely unaware of. I just downloaded an audio version from Audible.com. Thanks!

  20. #20
    Alas, poor Yorick, he fed me 'nanas DavidBrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,267
    There were only three books, but if you want a funny little series, try AGENT Z.

    Also great for those yearning for non-conformity/resistance based MCs, another popular but old series: THE DEMON HEADMASTER. Sure, the kids are actually the good guys, but they're still rebelling...

    Dave
    Mr Stuffenfluff - My FIRST attempt at horror for over a decade. Feedback welcome!

    Authors warn me writing children's books is a lot of work - signings, school events, literary festivals, a blog, etc. I always reply "I WANT THAT!"

    I don't claim to be a professional (yet). I just try and help others when and where I can.

    Follow me @symplesymon

  21. #21
    Odessa Quinn Laura J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Tampa
    Posts
    476
    Eloise is always getting into trouble. My friend wouldn't let her daughter watch the movies because she was afraid she would be a bad influence My MC has a bit of a naughty streak. Kind of like I was at that age. Nothing terrible, but not well behaved.
    Last edited by Laura J; 01-30-2013 at 10:10 PM. Reason: iPad typing is hard
    Odessa Quinn
    Facebook

    Twitter

    The Faery Thief~ MG rewriting, editing and revising

    The Charisma Chronicles first draft

    The Thread-YA

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW MsJudy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    california
    Posts
    5,673
    Ramona the Pest--though I guess you were looking for more recent examples.
    represented by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Most happy.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search