Sorry, there isn’t a simpler title, I tried. But the concept is easy. Book characters get anything they want—or, anything the author wants them to have. In kids’ lit, the characters often seem to get acres of that elusive freedom—and as a kid who LIVED in and through books, here are the Top 5 Book Tings I Tried to Have. Be. Do. Live. (You’ll see.)
- Anastasia’s Notebook: I can’t tell you how many notebooks I started trying to be like her. Lists of things I LOVED and HATED. Two pages in, and I ran out of ideas, but it didn’t stop me from trying. And added to this? Her tower bedroom with her own staircase as introduced in the second book. A TOWER.
- Harriet the Spy’s Notebook: Existed for a different reason than Anastasia’s, in a world of dumbwaiters and eggcreams and tomato sandwiches, but was required reading for all (two) members of the Black Cat Detective Agency (circa 1987.)
- Claudia’s Phone: Claudia Kishi had her own phone number. In her own room. And that’s why she got to host the Babysitter’s Club meetings. This? This I lobbied for from 1989 onward and finally got my senior year. 838-2140. With answering machine.
- Stephanie’s Apartment: Mmm. Theme much? Sleepover Friends Stephanie’s parents built her an apartment in the back yard. SHE WAS 10. And yes, it seemed wholly reasonable and had me eying the shed for possible renovations.
- Okay. Let us all take a moment and bow down to my researcher berserker skills on this one: All I remembered was that the girl was a prefect at an English boarding school. And I found it. Nora’s Prefect Suite: BOARDING SCHOOL. It’s like college you get to go to NOW. From The Naughtiest Girl series written by Enid Blyton in 1940. The school name? Whyteleafe. How English is that? Wanted. Badly.
Honorable Mention: Encyclopedia Brown’s gas can. Because I thought making money for my mad skills at anything was appropriate. Heck. I painted Frank’s rocks and sold them back to him.
So. Put your quarter on the gas can and give me a tower room with my own phone number. Done and done.