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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Listed: Short Sidekicks

I find the way books portray the interactions and relationships between children/teens and adults (particularly in YA and childrens books) interesting. Sometimes it can be a little bit frustrating because some children’s/YA books automatically make the adults out to be the bad guys, or the people who don’t care or understand about the main character’s life and problems. Other ones, though, show really well how kids and teens can work with adults, how they can teach adults things, and how they can see things that adults would have ordinarily missed out on.

Today’s list includes some books that I think had the chemistry between adults and children/teens done well. Most of these are in the form of sidekicks where the main character is actually working with an adult to learn or assist them. While I do love the chemistry in these books, they are not always books that I completely loved – the relationship just stood out to me to the point where I still occasionally think on it.

As I’ve made note that I love the YA and childrens books most, I have marked those that are not suitable for younger readers.

  1. Tess Hatch; sidekick to Horatio Lyle. From Catherine Webb’s Horatio Lyle books. Originally appears in The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle. Originally Published 2006. One of the main appealing aspects of this book for me is the relationship between Tess and Horatio. He takes care of her, takes her in, teachers her to read, and she helps him break into places so he can solve mysteries.
  2. Stephanie Edgely; sidekick to Skulduggery Pleasant. From Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series. Originally appears in Skulduggery Pleasant. Originally Published 2007. Another instance where the sidekick helps the grownup solve mysteries. In this instance, Stephanie became Skulduggery’s sidekick without him really seeming to want to at the beginning, but he ends up quite fond of her and introduces her to the magical world. She, in return, has some abilities that makes his job of solving mysteries a bit easier.
  3. Pug; apprentice to Magician Kulgan. From Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Cycle. Originally appears in Magician. Originally Published 1982. Pug begins the Riftwar Saga as the apprentice to a magician. Unfortunately, he doesn’t learn much there about using magic in traditional ways, but eventually brings a new form of using magic to his world. Not a YA/children’s book, but doesn’t have content that wouldn’t be okay for younger people.
  4. Brian and Wren Wilde; children and sidekicks to Doctor Spartacus Wilde. From Tim Byrd’s Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom. Originally Published 2009. These two children accompany their father on his adventures, and with the massive amount of survival skills that he has taught them, are able to help him save their grandfather from evil alien frogs.
  5. Rossamünd Bookchild; sidekick to Miss Europe. From D.M. Cornish’s Foundling. Originally Published 2006. Miss Europe, a monster hunter, takes Rossamünd under her wings when she saves him from monsters. Throughout this book, on his way to his post as a lamplighter, Rossamünd helps Miss Europe in her task of hunting monsters.
  6. Meggie Folchart; child and sidekick to Mo Folchart. From Cornelia Funke’s The Inkworld Trilogy. Originally appears in Inkheart. Originally Published 2003. Meggie accompanies her father on his trips for work. When one trip gets a little bit out of hand (when characters that he previously read out of a book reappear in his life), Maggie is the one who needs to use her own ability to save her family from the Evil Men Read Out Of A Book.
  7. Mosca Mye; sidekick to Eponymous Clent. From Frances Hardinge’s Fly by Night. Originally Published 2005. Mosca first starts tagging along with con-man Clent because she set fire to her uncle’s barn, and because she loves words. Mosca helps Clent spy on other guilds in a big city and they work together to stop a war from starting.
  8. Jane Victoria Stuart; child and sidekick to Andrew Stuart. From L.M. Montgomery’s Jane of Lantern Hill. Originally Published 1937. While Jane didn’t know her father until he sent for her to come to the Island, their relationship blooms beautifully, and they become somewhat inseparable throughout the summers. Jane is more than capable of taking care of her father, while he shows her that life isn’t as gloomy and un-fun as she had always thought it was while living with her grandmother.
  9. Garth Baxtor; son and apprentice to Joseph Baxtor. From Sara Douglass’ Beyond the Hanging Wall. Originally Published 1996. Garth Baxtor helps his father heal prisoners who are working in the mines. His powers to heal people allows him to sense what is wrong with the body, and those powers alert him that one of the prisoners is not who everyone believes it to be. Garth and his father work towards freeing this man from the mines. This is not a YA or children’s book, but if I recall correctly its the tamest of Sara Douglass’ books (though I could be mistaken). I don’t remember how appropriate it would be for younger readers.
  10. Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb; guided by Puddleglum. From C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Originally appear in The Silver Chair. Originally Published 1953. Perhaps in this case, it would be more apt to say that Puddleglum is the sidekick, but for the sake of this list I’m including it here. Puddleglum not only helps them on their quest to rescue a Narnia prince from an evil enchantress, they also help show him life isn’t as depressing as he believes it to be.

What other books are there that you really enjoy how they have done the relationship between children/teens and adults?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:19 am August 17, 2009.
Category: Listed

  • Kailana

    Oh, good list! I know exactly what you mean about some of them. Others, I really need to read!

  • Lana

    The book that immediately sprang to mind when I read this was Bearstone by Will Hobb. Although the teenaged main character really isn’t at all a sidekick. There’s just a great relationship of trust that slowly develops between the Ute teen and the gnarled old rancher that I found very touching.

  • rachel

    do we ever really talk about anything that does not include Horatio Lyle?

    Also: you need to read Mairelon the Magician and the Magician’s Ward by Patricia C Wrede.