In Honor of “Uncle John”

June is official “bathroom reading” month. In honor of the occasion, and to properly (ahem) enthrone the glory which is bathroom reading, I’m responding to the question offered at Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Blog:

If you could trade places with any character from a children’s story, whom would you pick and why?

My answer?

Lucy from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

I have to admit, the choice surprised me a little, myself. At first I thought I’d go for something historical – Laura from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE – or something fantastic, like one of the characters from the OLD MRS. WEST WIND series I loved as a child.

But when I had to make a choice, the name that popped into my head was “Lucy.”

I admire Lucy for many reasons. She ended up a hero, though she didn’t start out as one. She squabbled with her siblings and she spent quite a few pages terrified out of her mind. She had to watch Aslan suffer, and she had to face betrayal and loss before she and her siblings succeeded in their quest to become the prophesied kings and queens at Cair Paravel.

Lucy discovered the door to Narnia in the wardrobe, and became the first to explore that fantastical world. She met and made a friend of Mr. Tumnus, the quirky faun. But when she returned to the world of people, her siblings called her adventure “imaginary.” They didn’t believe in her fantasy. Until, of course, the rest of them stumbled through the door and recognized little Lucy was telling the truth.

In a way, of course, the last two years have made me feel a lot like Lucy. I tumbled down a rabbit hole into samurai Japan, and made a friend of a ninja that no one else could see. A month from now, the rest of you can join me in Hiro’s Kyoto … there’s no white witch, and no noble lion, but it’s a realm I discovered by myself, and now I have the privilege of inviting you to travel there with me.

It’s not quite as good as trading places with Lucy for real – I don’t get to meet Aslan, or see the wonders of Narnia face to face – but it’s pretty close, and after all, I can always return to Narnia through Lucy’s eyes any time I want to, just by picking up my well-worn copy of C.S. Lewis’s book.

What character from a children’s book would you trade places with if you could?