by E. B. White
If Avery were our brother, we might run away from home—or at least hide our valuable possessions. He's the most rambunctious kid you'll ever encounter. Since he's Fern's older brother (he's ten, and she's eight), you might think he'd be the older and wiser type. You know, the kind of brother who would make fun of Fern for acting so immature. But nope, he's as wild and crazy as any kid out there.
In fact, we're thinking Avery could be the poster boy for all things that make up the perfect childhood on an American farm. Check it out:
• He's pretty much always dirty. Why bathe if you don't have to?
• He likes to capture frogs and let them jump all over the kitchen, including into pies. Gross.
• The first time we meet him he's got "an air rifle in one hand, a wooden dagger in the other" (1.23). So he's a little prone to violence, even if he never actually hurts anyone.
• He plays in the mud. Because that's just good clean—well, not so clean—fun.
Take it from his mom, this kid gets into his fair share of scrapes, but he turns out a-okay in the end: "Avery is always fine. Of course, he gets into poison ivy and gets stung by wasps and bees and brings frogs and snakes home and breaks everything he lays his hands on. He's fine" (14.54).
Sure, he's a messy kid, but maybe that's just the way kids should be. You can't exactly live on a farm if you're worried about getting dirt on your new Nikes.