Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Villains In Children’s Books

Top ten tuesday

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.


not-now-bernardThe monster from Not Now, Bernard who is responsible for one of the most spectacular twists I’ve ever read in a picture book.







shrekShrek – 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.








mr gum

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.







the bad guys

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.









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.






the enchanted woodDame 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.







beetle queen

“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 hero's guide

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).







muddle earthDoctor 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.







nimonaLord 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. 






Book Review: Timmi in Tangles by Shals Mahajan

timmiTimmi In Tangles

Shals Mahajan

Pages: 69

Price: INR 125

Publisher: Duckbill Books

Rating: 5/5

You’re not supposed to judge books by their covers so I decided to love this book, even before I read it, based solely on its synopsis.

Timmi’s life is full of tangles: Her mother expects her to go to school even though she’s a raja; Idliamma eats up all her idlis and everyone thinks Timmi ate them … and why can’t people understand that if you have a giant for a friend you can lift the roof to let the rain in?

And once I actually got around to reading the book, I loved it even more. Timmi is a delightful heroine, armed with bucketloads of imagination and plenty of spunk. Her world is unusual, yet familiar – where she is the Raja of Ramirpur, convinced her mother has been replaced by an evil witch; where she conspires with a friendly giant to lift the roof of her house and let the rain in, so she can get wet indoors; where Idli-amma eats up all her idlis, then dances on her stomach and makes it ache.

Most, if not all, children have their worlds; worlds that may not include the grown-ups; worlds that are very much a part of their day-to-day existence. The only unfortunate part is that most children grow out of these worlds, forget the friendly giants, wave goodbye to the imaginary friend, put away the crown and give up being the king. Reading about Timmi made me nostalgic for my Timmi-ness of yore.

Illustrator Shreya Sen does a stellar job of capturing Timmi’s general wackiness. The book has four short chapters, each as brilliant as the last. The chapter right at the end talks about families and how not all families need to be the same – some may have a perfectly-drawn stick figure mom, dad, daughter and son, while another may have one Timmi, one Amma, one Kamal Mausi who tells Timmi stories and makes yummy food, one Paro Aunty, one toy puppy, one friendly giant and one Idli-amma who loves idlis more than Timmi does.

After reading this book, I can’t imagine anyone not adding Timmi to the top of their list (or very near it) of charming fictional heroines.