The lovable Wemicks are puppets made by Eli, a wise and caring puppet-maker. Poor Punchinello can't ever seem to get it right, and yet he goes to Eli with all of his problems. This puts him ahead of many of the other Wemmicks and, perhaps, a lot of us.
In You Are Special, mean-spirited, critical Wemmicks have covered Punchinello with black spots, one for every mistake he's made. Oh if only someone would give him just one golden star! What everyone else thinks does not matter so much, once Punchinello realizes how much Eli loves him. I love the ending of the book because it promises a process and not an instant solution to the problem.
In If only I had a Green Nose, Punchinello learns how deceptive it can be to trust in appearances.
In The Most Marvelous Gift, all the Wemmicks are about to be rescued from the island, but then Gilligan... (Oops! Let's try that again...) It's "Maker Day" and Punchinello manages to destroy everyone's gift for their loving maker Eli. But then they discover what Eli really wants -- heartfelt praise.
In You are Mine, the ever-gullible Wemmicks are now collecting balls and boxes. Punchinello sells his house, hoping to have more balls and boxes than anyone else. But Punchinello discovers that it is impossible. You can never have enough when you compare yourself to others. He learns all he needs is his creator, Eli. I love the image of Punchinello sleeping in his maker's house without a care in the world.
In Lucia and the Razzly Dazzly Wemberry Pies, the Wemmicks learn a lesson in teamwork. No one wants to do the work Eli designed them for. So, Lucia lets everyone switch jobs. The Wemmicks learn that Eli has given them all specific jobs because that's what they can do best. Personally, I have a slight problem with this one because none of the Wemmicks who change jobs are given any kind of training -- so of course they mess it all up. It's a good idea for everyone to switch jobs once in a while. God has gifted everyone with multiple talents. Sometimes we don't find God's gifts to us until we try something new.
There aren't a lot of books that I read and say, "I wish I'd thought of that!" -- but Punchinello's fallible but earnest devotion to his maker makes him a character any author would love to claim.
Who are some of your favorite children's book characters?