I have a major soft spot for villains – not the boring, truly evil ones, but the fun, off-kilter ones (who, admittedly, can sometimes be truly evil, but you can’t accuse them of being boring) (This also partly explains why I’ll forever be in love with Missy and Hela)
My favourite bad guys in children’s books run the gamut of villainy from being properly bad to merely being misunderstood and also includes the various shades in between. But they’re always super entertaining.
The monster from Not Now, Bernard who is responsible for one of the most spectacular twists I’ve ever read in a picture book.
Shrek – not the version from the films who turns out to be a good guy after all, but the one from the original book who utterly revels in his horribleness.
EARLY CHAPTER BOOKS
Mr Gum from the hilarious Mr Gum series where the eponymous villain, much like Shrek, loves being bad and is forever trying to hatch nefarious plots.
Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark from The Bad Guys series who just want to rehabilitate their tarnished images and prove to the world that they’re not so bad after all.
MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS
The cephalopod with multiple possible origin stories from the wonderfully inventive Vanamala And The Cephalopod whose kidnapping of Vanamala’s sister (though, in his defence, Vanmala did advertise her for sale) leads to an epic underwater quest.
Dame Slap from the Magic Faraway Tree series who runs the most ridiculous school to reform naughty pixies and fairies and needs the slightest pretext to slap anyone and everyone she comes across.
“The mad scientist of fashion, haute couture villainess” Lucretia Cutter from The Battle Of The Beetles series who has an unhealthy interest in insects and how they can be used for world domination.
The dastardly Bandit King from the fantastically funny The Hero’s Guide To Saving Your Kingdom who loves looting, mayhem, gold, jewels and candy, and celebrating his infamy (and who also happens to be ten years old).
Doctor Cuddles from Muddle Earth who is just one of the many absurd, excellent characters this book is full of – but might have an advantage over the others considering the hooded villain who wants to take over Muddle Earth is a teddy bear.
YOUNG ADULT BOOKS
Lord Ballister Blackheart from Nimona who is the loveliest, grumpiest non-villain who just wants to prove that the knights guarding the realm aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are – and reluctantly find himself saddled with a delightful, mad sidekick (hi Nimona!)
What are the other glorious villains I need to discover in children’s books?
This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Artsy Reader Girl which suggests literary lists to write about.