If you grew up in the ’90s or early ’00s, you probably have fond memories of the PBS animated series, Arthur. You may also have kids or grandkids who watch the show today—after The Simpsons, it’s the longest-running animated TV show in the U.S.
Based on a popular series of children’s books created by author and illustrator Marc Brown, the show follows the daily adventures of a nine-year-old anthropomorphic animal, Arthur Read, and his many animal friends at Lakewood Elementary. But if you’re unsure what type of animal each character is, you’re not alone—it’s not always obvious at first glance. To help you get it straight, here’s a rundown of some of the most popular animals on ArthurA brief overview of their personalities.
Binky Barnes is a bulldog. This makes sense considering his tough exterior and tendency towards acting like a bully (especially during the first season). When he’s first introduced, he’s one of Arthur’s nemeses, however, the two eventually become friends over the course of the series. Despite Binky’s often intimidating and abrasive nature, he has a soft side underneath it all—though he tends to keep that part of himself hidden from most of his peers. When he’s around Arthur and other close friends he trusts, he lets his guard down and allows them to see his gentler side.
As his surname implies, Nigel Ratburn is a rat. He‘s a teacher at Arthur’s school, Lakewood Elementary, and is known for being quite strict. He’s considered by many students to be the toughest teacher in the entire school because he assigns large amounts of homework to the kids in his class. Despite this fact, he’s a helpful and friendly teacher who cares deeply about his students. He cares about their success and will always do what is best for them.
Prunella is tall, slim, and has a curly, brown-colored head. She has a reputation for being somewhat of a snob, in part because she loves to flaunt the fact that she’s older than Arthur and the rest of the gang. Prunella is a dedicated student who loves to read and is already worrying about where she will attend college, despite the fact that she’s still in elementary school. She loves the paranormal, and is fond of making predictions about the future. But they are rarely accurate. Prunella has a teenage sibling, Rubella, and is best friend with Marina Datillo, Muffy Crosswire, and Muffy.
Timmy and Tommy Tibble
The twin bear cubs Timmy and Tommy, also known as the Tibbles or the Tibble Twins, are Timmy (or Tommy) They are preschoolers in the same class as Dora Winifred (known as D.W.), Arthur’s younger sister. Always by each other’s side, the Tibble twins are mischievous, like to cause trouble, and often lie or manipulate their preschool classmates to get what they want. They dress almost identically, but Tommy wears a red scarf while Tommy wears a blue scarf.
Sue Ellen Armstrong
Joining Mr. Ratburn’s class in the third grade after moving to Elwood City with her family, Sue Ellen Armstrong is a cat. Her father (also a cat) is a diplomat, so she’s a well-traveled kitten who’s lived in a number of different places around the world, including Egypt and Nicaragua. Sue Ellen is friendly and easy-going, and she is a member the Lakewood Elementary Soccer team. She doesn’t have siblings but keeps in touch with Tenzin Wangdu, her best friend and panda who lives in Tibet.
Fern Walters is a breed unknown dog. When we first meet her, she’s extremely quiet and shy, though she beings to open over the course of the series and eventually becomes a little less introverted. Despite her wallflower nature, she’s not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right and sometimes gets into fights with other students as a result of her stubbornness. Fern is a talented singer and plays the flute in the school’s band. She also loves to tell horror stories and mystery stories. Fern enjoys drawing and uses pictures to express her thoughts.
George Lundgren is a moose who has large antlers that can get in the path of daily activities. His family is from Sweden. He was a minor character until season nine, when he became a main character. George is shy and quiet like Fern. He spends a lot time alone playing with Wally his ventriloquist dummy. His big antlers have earned him a number of nicknames from his peers, including “Hammer,” “Big Horns,” and “Headgear.”
Alan Powers A.K.A. Brain
Known as “The Brain” and in later seasons just “Brain,” Alan Powers is a bear. He’s also Arthur’s best friend. As his nickname suggests, he’s very intelligent and almost always earns As and A-pluses on his assignments. He is polite and well-mannered and gets along well with his peers. He is also a member of several school sports teams, including track, baseball, and soccer. He’s also a member of the Computer Club and plays piano and cello in the school band.
Francine Frensky can be described as a monkey. She is athletic and energetic, excelling in soccer, kickball, baseball, and bowling. Francine was rude to her classmates and friends during the earlier seasons. She grows more friendlier and gentler over the course the series, but her outgoing, strong-willed personality remains. Marc Brown, the original creator, illustrator and author of the series, modeled her character after his sister. Arthur book series on which the show is based.
Like Francine, Alice Crosswire (who goes by “Muffy”) is a monkey. As one of the wealthiest kids in Elmwood City, she’s spoiled and often thinks money can fix any problem. She lives in a large mansion and has all she needs, including toys and her very own clubhouse. Although she can be snobby or condescending towards her peers, Muffy is a kind and caring person with lots of friends. Her best friend is fellow monkey Francine, and she’s also tight with Arthur and D.W. She’s also very close with her family’s butler, Bailey.
Another one of Arthur’s besties, Buster Baxter is a rabbit. He is laid-back and easygoing, which sometimes makes it difficult for him to complete chores or finish homework on time. He is a huge foodie and will eat anything, even items that have been dropped on the ground or expired. He is an avid believer of aliens. He claims to be a witness to UFOs and believes that aliens are responsible for unexplainable events. Buster was the subject for the PBS spinoff series.Buster PostcardsFrom 2004 to 2008, the televised series was called.
D.W. Read, an aardvark. She’s also Arthur’s younger sister (and the older sister of their other sibling, Kate). As a preschooler, she’s not the nicest or most even-tempered character on the show. She often gets on Arthur’s nerves, though it’s clear her big brother still loves her despite it all. She also enjoys causing trouble for her family and friends. It’s obvious that D.W. is younger than Arthur and his friends, as she often doesn’t know the meaning of complex words and has the erroneous belief that teachers live in schools and babies come from a baby store.
Lastly, there’s Arthur the aardvark. As the main character of the series, he’s kind-hearted and has lots of friends, including best buds Buster and Brain. He plays piano in the school band (though he often puts off practicing), is the forward and goalkeeper for the Lakewood Elementary Soccer Team, and plays on the school’s track and baseball teams. He loves to read, and enjoys spending time in libraries. His trademark pair of thick glasses instantly makes him identifiable. As mentioned previously, he’s often irritated by his younger sister D.W. who is constantly causing him problems. Despite that fact, he does his best to be a good big brother by trying to ignore her bratty preschool behavior and help her when she’s in need (or when his parents ask him to do it).