Love ’em, hate ’em, name your kids after ’em…any way you slice it, character names can make or break a book. This week’s Top Five Wednesday brings together a handful of my favorites. And while I could pluck out plenty of fantasy names with an extremely disproportionate rate of vowels to consonants, I decided to go for some of the funnier, more unusual ones. Enjoy! But maybe don’t name any kids after these ones.
- Lumphy | Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
Lumphy the stuffed buffalo is one of a trio of toy friends that belong to the Little Girl who sleeps on the high bed. And while I didn’t read this cute tale of everyday adventure until I was a legal adult, I was always a stuffed animal girl growing up…and may or may not still have a tub of them. I recently acquired this buffalo, and his name is most definitely Lumphy. Rumpa lumpa rumpa lumpa!
- The Whether Man | The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Every book lover should read this: after all, doesn’t Dictionopolis sound like heaven? But before you get to Dictionopolis, you’ll meet the Whether Man, who believes “it’s more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be.” This was one of my favorite books (and cartoons!) growing up, and it only gets better with time – reading it again as an adult, I found a ton of clever wordplay that I’d missed as a youngster.
- The Pirate with the Scarf | The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
On a boat full of roguish adventurers named mostly for their distinguishing physical attributes, the Pirate with the Scarf is the only one with his head on straight. The debonair Pirate Captain would be completely lost without his scarf-clad first mate – after all, who can be expected to remember terms like fore, aft and belowdecks when “the downstairs of the boat” works just as well? Despite the fact that he can never get any action with the ladies, the Pirate with the Scarf is the behind-the-scenes manager who keeps the miscreant crew afloat.
- Thompson and Thomson | The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé
I grew up loving these comics chronicling the globetrotting adventures of reporter Tintin. Always six steps behind the curve were bumbling twin detectives Thompson and Thomson, who manage to both cluelessly ruin and unwittingly save the day in equal measure. The best part of the blundering duo is how the twin with a p introduces himself: “Thompson, with a p, as in psychology,” pterodactyl, and any other number of silent-p words.
- Mixtape the Kitten | Welcome to Night Vale episode 75
Ok, this is from the Welcome to Night Vale podcast rather than the book, but I just listened to the applicable episode this week and it was too good to not include. Mixtape is one of several offspring of Khoshekh, the floating cat who lives in the men’s room of the Night Vale Community Radio Station. Like their father, the kittens float in fixed points in space, unable to move from their airy perches. I haven’t read the book, but Khoshekh and his kittens make regular appearances on the extremely bizarre podcast, which takes the form of an old-time radio broadcast about a scientifically impossible town in the middle of the desert.