TOP 5 FRIDAY: Gingers
There can't be many minority groups that are over-represented in children's fiction but we have a sneaking suspicion that redheads might be. Making up just two per cent of the population, we reckon at least one in ten children's books has a feisty, spirited girl character with ginger hair, pale freckled skin and green eyes that flash when her temper flares. And we're not knocking them - we wouldn't dare incur their fiery fury! Publishing Manager Esther, fan of all things ginger (especially her two sons), picks her top five red-headed characters.
1. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
She may have claimed that having red hair was a 'lifelong sorrow' - and there's no forgetting the time she accidentally dyed it green in a desperate attempt to have hair as 'black as the raven's wing' - but she embodies red from root to tip. Tease her for it and you'll be made to pay - just ask Gilbert Blythe! A blonde or brunette Anne would have been a literary flop. She will always be my kindred spirit.
2. Thirrin from The Cry of the Icemark
This girl can kick butt! How many thirteen-year-old princesses do you know who can take down a werewolf with their bare hands? A fierce, proud, fearless warrior with a blaze of red hair, her 'halo of wrath'. She may be the heir to the throne of the Icemark but forget blue blood, it's the red-headed blood coursing through her veins that makes her awesome!
3. Katie Morag from the Katie Morag series
The gentler setting of a fictional island off the west coast of Scotland is the home of Katie Morag. But gingers are rarely mild: Feisty? Tick! Creative? Tick! Unruly? Tick! I want to be her, roaming the island unaccompanied, wild Titian hair blowing in the wind. She is also a style icon - I dream of being able to rock the white Fair Isle jumper, tartan skirt, bare legs and wellies look ...
4. Mr Fox from Fantastic Mr Fox
I don't really believe that hair colour has any bearing on intelligence (some of the brightest people I know are blonde) but ginger-furred Mr Fox is as smart as they come, outwitting farmers for a pastime. He manages to be both shrewd and generous, the saviour of a host of starving underground animals. I want an invitation to one of his banquets ... oh, to feast on duck, goose and ham pilfered from Mr Bunce and down a few pints of Mr Bean's cider!
5. Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series
I can't get away without mentioning Ron, perhaps the most famous ginger in children's fiction, and good value for money as he brings with him six ginger siblings. Ron is funny, brave and a loyal BFF to Harry. For the most part he handles being a sidekick, having an awful name and being teased for being poor with charm and dignity. And although he does have the typical temper, there's nothing wrong with wearing your heart on your sleeve. Good choice Hermione!
Any other flame-haired favourites to add to the list? Tweet us @chickenhsebooks!