Heroes of Children's Literature

Last summer we ran a quiz on girl adventurers. (See "Heroines in Children's Literature," Page 17, July 22, 1997.) Now it's the boys' turn. The characters in the book passages below are challenged in ways that test their courage, persistence, and ingenuity. Some find adventure close to home. Others face the unknown far away. Can you identify the books, the characters, the authors, or all three?

1. At the opposite bank Attean watched Matt climb out of the canoe, but he did not follow. Apparently this was as far as he intended to go. As Matt hesitated, he lifted his hand. It occurred to Matt that this may be a compliment. Without saying a word, Attean was acknowledging that Matt could now find his own way through the forest.

2. Chief Brown was proud of his only child. He wanted it written in every school book: "The greatest detective in history wears sneakers to work." Who would believe that the brains behind Idaville's crime clean-up was 10 years old? History wasn't ready for that.

3. It was well Johnny had thought to put on Pumpkin's uniform.... A Yankee caught impersonating a British soldier would be shot. He kept well out of the moonlight and away from the flare of torches, and huddled between a warehouse and a tanning shed.

4. So they moved on again - aimlessly - simply at random - all they could do was to move, keep moving.... By and by Tom took Becky's candle and blew it out. This economy meant so much! Words were not needed.... She knew that Tom had a whole candle and three or four pieces in his pockets - yet he must economize.

5. Being the sons of Bayport's famous detective, Fenton H----, the boys were not easily deterred by initial disappointments in pursuing criminals. Although still high school students, they had helped their father on many cases and had used their sleuthing prowess in solving several mysteries.

6. By the time I had carried 10 or 15 bundles of sea grape to the fire, tumbling them in, I was sure that a column of black smoke was rising into the sky over the cay. Suddenly, a deafening roar swept overhead.... I shouted at Stew Cat, "We'll be rescued!"

7. I got up and ran to the rabbit hutch. The baby fox was huddled in one corner of the pen where there was some shelter from the rain. The lightning flashed and I saw him watching me. "I'm going to get you out," I said.

8. Sometimes he poised himself in the air, listening intently with his hand to his ear, and again he would stare down with his eyes so bright.... His courage was almost appalling. "Do you want an adventure now," he said casually to John, "or would you like to have your tea first?"

9. When I had done breakfasting the squire gave me a note addressed to John Silver, at the sign of the Spy-glass, and told me I should easily find the place by following the line of the docks and keeping a bright lookout for a little tavern with a large brass telescope for sign. I set off, overjoyed at this opportunity to see some more of the ships and seamen....


(1) 'The Sign of the Beaver,' by Elizabeth George Speare, 1983; (2) 'Encyclopedia Brown Carries On,' by Donald J. Sobol, 1980; (3) 'Johnny Tremain,' by Esther Forbes, 1943; (4) 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' by Mark Twain, 1876; (5) 'The Shore Road Mystery' (Hardy Boys Series: Vol. 6), by Franklin W. Dixon, 1928; (6) 'The Cay,' by Theodore Taylor, 1969; (7) 'The Midnight Fox,' by Betsy C. Byars, 1968; (8) 'Peter Pan,' by J. M. Barrie, 1916; (9) 'Treasure Island,' by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886.

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