How Old Is Your Favourite Children's Book Protagonist?

Have you ever wondered how old the characters are in your favourite childrens' books?

Books have always been a very important part of my children’s lives, and I have always loved the excitement elicited from one of my girls when the age of a character in a story I was reading matched their own. “I’m four, too!” somebody might shriek when first introduced to Harold and his purple crayon, and this bond has only grown as our children and their favourite protagonists have as well.

Watching my children’s connection to books evolve has been very gratifying. But now, beyond the joy of simple mirrored reflection or age recognition in a story’s characters, my girls and I look not only for books with protagonists that might match their age (keeping in mind that many books for early readers feature main characters older than their intended readers), but also fall on the spectrum of their current and future reading level, maturity level, and of course, interest in subject matter.

But how old are the protagonists in the books my kids might be interested in? Is my seven-year-old ready to enjoy classics like James and the Giant Peach? Is my nine-year-old going to relate to any of the characters in the Narnia series? Knowing that I could encourage my kids to try new books by saying, “I think you’ll like it; she’s nine, like you,” I looked around and found the ages of 50 popular characters in children’s literature. The age printed almost always reflects the character at the time of the first book they starred in, even if the book turned into an exhaustive series, so keep that in mind. And some ages may be approximate, as writers can be coy.