Where Are They Now? Classic Children’s Book Characters’ Modern Lives

There are some real classics in children’s literature, stories and books that have been passed down for generations. But those fictional kids can’t be little forever, right?

So here’s what they’re doing with their lives:

Please note: This is all purely speculation and as such, I did not include characters like Meg Murray and Anne (of Green Gables) as most of their lives are already spelled all the way out. Feel free to point yourself towards Wikipedia if you feel like having your heart ripped out.

Peter Thatcher

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Age Then: 10
Publication Date: 1972
Age Now: 56

These books have been updated a few times over the years, although they can’t seem to get rid of the bellhop minor character, I guess it’s really hard to push elevator buttons when you live on the Upper East Side. Either way, I’m going by original publication date.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the chronicles of one kid who just wants a normal life in a family with a turtle-swallowing, obsessive, eccentric little brother who makes an ordinary existence impossible.

After getting a useless Graphic Design degree from some college upstate, Pete’s dad gets him a job at his ad agency where he outshines his papa because he “gets the kids”. He goes on to marry Sheila (the Great) and they have three kids who get on the Honor Roll and stuff. He dreams of retirement in a decade and is secretly planning on buying himself a convertible as a present to himself where he can blast Blue Oyster Cult without anyone nagging.

Fern Arable

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Age Then: 8
Publication Date: 1952
Age Now: 74

Fern was a weird kid. She had maybe one human friend her own age and also thought she could talk to pigs and spiders. I guess that’s what happens when you’re an only child on a farm in a state shaped like a square.

While the kids and grandkids loved their Disney Princess lady who insisted she could speak swine, later they all came to realize that Grandmama Fern is insane. It’s become a bit of a family sport to see who can get her to tear up about the spiders first. There’s also been a decades-long argument about naming a kid after Wilbur. She’s holding out for that Terrific pig.

Madeline

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Age Then: 7
Publication Date: 1939
Age Now: 86

Don’t let the prim and proper French-ness and the fancy hat fool you, Madeline was a wild child. She yelled at tigers when they annoyed her. She adopted stray dogs when she felt like it. She made the future psychopath Spanish kid next door think “Wow, I should really mellow out.” If she wasn’t sent to a boarding school with math-inclined nuns, she would have become a pirate and taken over a small island nation.

And even at 86, Maddie is rocking. it. She skydives. She owns a hanglider. She’s planning to be the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest. And this is after she took off for the circus (she ran with gypsies in one of those books!), saved an entire platoon in the war as a teenager single-handedly, and invented numerous sick skateboarding moves. Although she strangely has a habit of breaking into rhyme…

Matilda Wormwood

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Age Then: 5-and-a-Half
Publication Date: 1988
Age Now: 35-ish

Matilda was an odd child, not only because she read the entire local library at age four but also because she’s got superpowers.

So in the summer of 1993, a mysterious owl flies into the window of Miss Honey and Matilda carrying a letter from a mysterious school with a funny name somewhere in the mountains of Scotland.

Matilda is sorted into Ravenclaw, becomes the Prefect in her second year (because once an overachiever, always an overachiever) and graduated despite the kids two years older than her trying to get the rest of them killed.

She goes back to teach in the Muggle system and uses her scary brain nonverbal magic to get her kids in line.

Alexander

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Age Then: 7 probably
Publication Date: 1972
Age Now: 53

Alexander was having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. And he swore he was moving to Australia.

So figuring his whiny kid needed a little escapism from his jerk brothers who beat him up all the time (seriously, why did the parents never step in those parts?), hippy-dippy Frodo Lives Dad slips Alex a copy of The Hobbit which launches a life of fanboyism.

Working as a lowly PA and fluffy-microphone-holding guy in LA finally netted him a dream job on the set of Fellowship in New Zealand where he married a beautiful Kiwi woman and he’s almost developed the accent.

He still threatens to move to Australia when things go sideways, but this time he does it in Sindarin.

What do you think of these predictions?
Any favorites that didn’t make the list?
Leave a comment!