Just For Fun

The Luckiest Characters in
Children’s Literature

by Devon Corneal

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illustration Mary GrandPré; My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza, illustration Keiko Kasza; How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, illustration David Shannon; Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, illustration Ernest H. Shepard; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, illustration Quentin Blake

The characters in children’s books are some of the luckiest folks around. They survive situations that would leave adults shell-shocked, and do so with their optimism intact. In the real world they’d be goners, but between the covers of a book, they’re invincible.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, and rainbows, here are a few of the luckiest characters in children’s literature.

  • Baby Bird

    from Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

    This bird falls out of his nest (on an empty stomach, no less), encounters potentially dangerous animals and extremely large machines, yet still manages to make it back home in one piece, and in time for his first meal. He’s lucky that Snorts are so gentle.

  • Harry Potter

    from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

    By all rights, Harry Potter never should have survived infancy, and he has the scar to prove it. His fortuitous survival set the stage for his years at Hogwarts when he faced archenemies, multiple near death experiences, and accidents both in and out of the classroom. This is the guy you want with you when things get ugly.

  • Wilbur

    from Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams

    Destined for the slaughterhouse, this runt of the litter was one fortunate pig. He was rescued first by Fern Arable, a little girl with a big heart, and then by Charlotte, a spider with a big vocabulary. These two compassionate souls actually did save Wilbur’s bacon.

  • Jeremy Jacob

    from How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon

    Minding his own business on the beach one day, Jeremy Jacob suddenly meets a pirate captain and his crew and gets to go on a fantastic adventure. Nothing like that ever happened to me when I was building sand castles. The fact that he makes it home before his parents notice he’s gone, however, is what makes him the luckiest boy ever.

  • Charlie Bucket

    from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

    Sure he lives in squalor, but Charlie’s luck changes the day he discovers a golden ticket granting him admission to Willy Wonka’s magical and mysterious chocolate factory. Things only get better from there.

  • Westley

    from The Princess Bride by William Goldman

    From farmboy to pirate captive to Dread Pirate Roberts to gallant hero, Westley’s life is challenging, but charmed. The fact that he finds true love in the end? Well, that’s worth more than a pot of gold.

  • The Pig

    from My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza

    This porcine trickster manages to wrangle a day of pampering out of a hungry fox and make it home safely for dinner. He might be pushing things to try it twice, but I don’t think that will stop him.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh

    from Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

    A bear who can get stuck in a friend’s doorway, outrun a swarm of angry bees, and sail an umbrella to rescue a friend without suffering a single injury is a lucky bear indeed. He may be a bear of very little brain, but Winnie-the-Pooh is a bear of very good fortune.

What other characters from kids’ lit always seem to have luck on their side?