Arthur Timothy Read is the title character of both the book series and children's television show Arthur, Marc Brown's mascot, and is the oldest child in the Read family, the only son of David and Jane, and the best friend of Buster Baxter. He is eight years old, in third grade, and lives in Elwood City. Originally, he was voiced by Michael Yarmush, but is currently voiced by Dallas Jokic.
His last name Read is named after the fact that he loves to read books.
- "You're still Arthur, a smart kind young man."
- — Mrs. MacGrady, "Arthur's Underwear"
- Name: Arthur Timothy Read
- Alias: Arthur, Alba Tabitha Read
- Birthday: May 25
- Age: 15
- Nationality: American
- Religion: Christian
- Parents: David Read (father), Jane Read (mother)
- Siblings: Dora Winifred "D.W." Read, Kate Read (younger sisters).
- Grandparents: Thora Read (paternal grandmother), Grandpa Dave (maternal grandfather), Thora's Mother (great-grandmother).
- Other: Jessica, Lucy (maternal aunts), Lucy's husband, Richard (Jessica's husband), Cora (Richard and Jessica's daughter), Monique (cousin), Loretta (paternal aunt/Monique's mother), Loretta's daughter (cousin), Ricky (cousin/Loretta's son)
- Likes: Pal, reading books, watching TV, pancakes, hanging out with Buster, Bionic Bunny
- Dislikes: Mary Moo Cow, "Crazy Bus", unicorns, pet cats, anything D.W. does to annoy him, having bad dreams at night, being called names like "four-eyes" and "baby", being grounded, homework, being scared of caves, when D.W. says swear words, his middle name being mentioned, and dirty diapers, dressed up as Alba Read Pony Land, being bored, being accused and Binky and his Tough Customers.
- Annoyances: D.W., Francine (occasionally), Binky (sometimes and currently), Nemo
Arthur's favourie books: George and Martha by James Marshall, Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor, How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron Leslie Kendrick Aardvark
Arthur is an aardvark like his parents and sisters and is bald-headed. He wears round brown glasses, a yellow V-neck sweater, a white shirt underneath, baggy faded blue jeans, a brown belt buckle, a white undershirt with straps, white briefs, white socks, and red and white sneakers. His shirts worn underneath his sweater are tucked into his pants. His most notable trademark is his pair of glasses. In the early books, he typically wore brown shoes, but has since switched to sneakers like his friends Buster and Francine wear on their feet. His sneakers have white laces in the cartoon, but red Velcro straps in the books. In the first season, Arthur's eyes, when seen without his glasses, were drawn with white sclerae and black pupils, but later on they were redrawn completely black like Prunella; although his appearance with sclerae are shown again during flashbacks before getting glasses and as an elderly man in the future wearing half-glasses, and he still has the sclerae for eyes in the later books. In Arthur Goes to Camp, he also had a pair of red Bionic Bunny underwear as one of his clothes. His sleepwear include blue pajamas that have a long-sleeved button-up top, pajama pants, and a pair of white bunny slippers (in the books, his pajamas often involved a striped pattern, although the animated series often restricts the details to certain clothing in order to simplify animation process); although he wears a short-sleeved pajama top and pajama shorts when the weather is hot. His swimwear is a pair of yellow swimming trunks. In the summertime, he wears a blue short-sleeved T-shirt with white accents and dark blue shorts. His basketball uniform consists of a yellow T-shirt and white shorts, which both have blue accents. His baseball uniform consists of a yellow baseball cap and a yellow T-shirt with an orange #7 on the rear, and the "LW" logo for his school is sometimes seen on the front, although the front is sometimes blank. His ears originally would stick out from the caps he wears, but in later seasons his ears do not stick out and are always inside instead. His football uniform consists of a light green oversized shirt with a green #1 on the front and a green football helmet with a purple stripe and a purple face mask. During cool weather outside of winter, he wears two zip-up jackets: one is green with yellow pockets and another is black. During the wintertime, he wears a red hat, a brown winter coat, red mittens, and brown boots. In Arthur Cleans Up, he was wearing a green Clean-up Brigade uniform while he was cleaning up the littered park where he and his friends like to play frisbee. For formal occasions Arthur wears either a suit or a tuxedo. He has two tuxedos and a suit. One of his tuxedos is light blue and it has two buttons on the right side of the jacket and two pockets one on each side. He also wears his usual yellow sweater and white shirt underneath and a dark purple bow tie. He also wears dark blue trousers and brown shoes. His other tuxedo is either black or charcoal with a tuxedo jacket white tuxedo shirt a black bow tie matching tuxedo trousers and black shoes. His suit is made up of the same jacket that he wears when he wears his blue tuxedo. However he wears a white shirt with no jumper like he does with the tuxedo and wears a purple necktie. The trousers and shoes are the same as his blue tuxedo. On Halloween, he likes to wear his Bionic Bunny costume that is complete with a Bionic Bunny suit and cape, a red hat with an antenna, and bunny ears that can be worn on his aardvark ears. His Bionic Bunny costume was first seen in Water and the Brain during a flashback, the hat and bunny ears were added in The Fright Stuff, and the costume was shown again in Hic or Treat. On the front cover of Arthur's Scary Stories on VHS and DVD, his Bionic Bunny costume lacked the bunny ears and he wore gloves instead of having bare hands. If Arthur is 8 years old, He was bald.
In the first Arthur book, Arthur's Nose, Arthur had a long nose and he resembled an actual aardvark. However, his design evolved over the first half dozen books; he now has a much shorter nose and more human features. He and many other characters also originally had a tail and were sometimes pants-less, but Arthur's Eyes and all later books removed the tails and made them more humanoid and dressy. In Arthur's Valentine, his ears raised up. In Arthur's April Fool he became more humanoid.
When Arthur was a baby, he wore a yellow T-shirt that had blue cuffs like his basketball uniform, white disposable diapers, and periwinkle sneakers. When he was from pre-school until the time between his first and second grade years, he wore long-sleeved shirts, shorts, different-colored sneakers, and (sometimes) overalls; and he wore different-colored pajamas. He started wearing his usual yellow sweater, blue jeans, and red and white sneakers after turning seven, and started getting glasses during the first semester of second grade when his vision was becoming poor.
Arthur's future life has been shown in a few shorts such as Buster's Growing Grudge, The Contest, and And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids. Unlike his early to present childhood, he appears to have clumps of hair like his father. While as a teenager and young adult, he was wearing a shirt with red and blue stripes (he also wore that shirt in the book Arthur's Lost Puppy), gray jeans, and brown loafers; and still wore the same glasses like his childhood. As an elderly man, he wore half-glasses like many elderly people do, a teal sweater with a white shirt underneath, gray pants, and gray shoes. On many futuristic occasions, he appears to be married to Francine. If the intro to the episode, "The Election" happens, he will go to future President Muffy's inauguration and be arrested by future Binky.
In the Living Books computer games that are based upon the books, Arthur had a light brown complexion in Arthur's Teacher Trouble and it was changed to pale in Arthur's Birthday. It was likely due to color and tone restrictions during the 16-bit era of computers and software. He was voiced by Duncan Wold before the cartoon show replaced him with Michael Yarmush.
In the later games during the 32-bit era of computers and software such as Arthur's Thinking Games, his appearance was the same as he looks in the cartoon show.
Personality and skills
Arthur a great pianist. However, he can forget to practice the piano at times, where he might not play the right note at a recital. He was originally taught by Mrs. Cardigan who retired in Arthur Plays the Blues, and was transferred over to Dr. Fugue's, but was once expelled for not practicing enough. Although he does very well at school most of the time, he occasionally receives help from the Brain whose grade mostly ranges between an A+ and an A- (100-90%). At times, he helps out his best friend Buster who has a general dislike in homework, whom he feared was falling behind and could repeat the third grade. He is occasionally referred to by his full name when he gets into trouble, although his middle name "Timothy" wasn't actually revealed until Arthur's Big Hit from Season 4. Jane Read is the only character in the show who ever says his middle name.
Despite his politeness, he sometimes has a tendency to break promises his parents have given him such as to not touch the computer during his mother's tax season, to clean up his room like being told, and to practice the piano which he does other things instead. He's also known to touch his glasses whenever he's lying, which D.W has caught him doing before.
Arthur is also shown to not like changing Kate's diapers, since he doesn't like the smell of it, and often leaves the job for his parents to do.
A recurring theme in the Arthur series are the tensions between Arthur and his younger sister. Arthur is constantly pestered by his four-year-old sister D.W. Read, and even though she celebrated her fifth birthday during the TV series' third season, Arthur still referred to her as a "four-year-old" in the episode Return of the Snowball, which aired in the seventh season. D.W. usually tries to get Arthur into trouble, although there are times when Arthur can also be mean to D.W. or retaliate. Despite that, Arthur tries to ignore D.W.'s annoying antics most of the time, and often does her favors - sometimes on his parents' behest - against his will. He is also jealous of her for being a better songwriter, storyteller, and fisher; which embarrassed him, and made him believe she's a "show-off".
Arthur's parents include his mother Jane, who is a work-at-home accountant and his father David Read, who runs a catering business. His mother is from the Pittsburgh area, and knew Fred Rogers as a child. His parents drive a purple station wagon when traveling. He also has a baby sister named Kate and a pet dog named Pal. He and his family live in a yellow Cape Cod-style house with a green roof.
Appearances from Arthur's extended family include Grandma Thora, Grandpa Dave, Uncle Fred, Uncle Richard, Aunt Jessica, Aunt Loretta, Aunt Lucy, Great-Grandma (Thora's mother) and his cousins Cora, Monique, Ricky, and other unnamed relatives. However, the only two members of Arthur's extended family who have appeared more than once as of today are Grandma Thora and Grandpa Dave. His grandparents are both widowed.
Grandma Thora lives in a house not too far from Arthur's in Elwood City and is known to be a poor cook, but a loving grandmother and a world-class marbles player. Grandpa Dave lives on a farm that he claims has been in Arthur's Mom's side of the family for 150 years.
They are a Christian family who celebrate Christmas in the book Arthur's Christmas and the special Arthur's Perfect Christmas (also adapted into a book at the same time as the special, but different storyline than the earlier book). He and his family, plus his Aunt Jessica's family, and Grandpa Dave went to Aunt Lucy's wedding at the local church.
Arthur's best friend is Buster Baxter, a jolly but naive rabbit who enjoys works of science fiction (aliens) and eating, and has a knack for telling jokes. He lives with his single mother (Bitzi Baxter) who is divorced from his father, an airplane pilot. Arthur wearing bunny slippers and his friend Buster wearing aardvark slippers may represent the fact that they are best friends. Arthur's other good friends include:
- Francine Frensky: She and Arthur are each other's second best friends. According to Locked in the Library!, they first met in pre-school; but in Desperately Seeking Stanley from Season 8 that aired seven years later, she went to his third birthday party. She often had the habit of teasing him by calling him a "four-eyes" when he started getting glasses and calling him a "baby" when he hasn't lost any baby teeth yet. She also once accused him for calling her a "marshmallow" when she once wore a white sweater, yet they renewed their friendship. She also gave him Spin-the-Bottle for his eighth birthday, and other than that, there were many rumors where they would have a crush on each other. She also appears to hang out with him and the other boys sometimes, besides her best friend Muffy. At the end of And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids, they were shown as an elderly couple in the future watching The Magic Toolbox on VHS that turns out to be more than fifty years ago. In the books, they usually wear the same colored shirts (Arthur wears yellow and Francine wears red) and blue jeans unlike most other characters who wear different colored ones in different books and elements of each book.
- Muffy Crosswire: She and Arthur both share the same birthday: May 25. Although they don't usually hang out with each other, their own parents are close friends with each other: Arthur's mother Jane works as a tax accountant for Muffy's father Ed who runs Crosswire Motors, and Ed is often the customer for desserts that Arthur's father David bakes and delivers to people.
- Alan Powers: Another one of Arthur's friends whom he and others nickname as "the Brain". The Brain usually gets an A+ and occasionally helps out Arthur with his homework. He also stayed at Arthur's for the weekend while his parents were out to the Ice Creamer's Convention, and was staying neat as a guest; but when he came home, Arthur found out that the Brain wasn't as neat as expected.
- Binky Barnes: There are times where Binky hangs out with Arthur and his other friends, although Binky often hangs out with a group of bullies known as the "Tough Customers", whom Arthur doesn't usually get along with.
- Prunella Deegan: Although they don't hang out, Arthur and his friends once fell victim of the cootie catcher she received from her older sister Rubella for her half-birthday, until Arthur points out to everyone that the cootie catcher is trying to spoil their fun, which D.W. points out that it is a useless piece of junk. Prunella was also bragging over who was a better speller in the spellathon, because she won when she was in third grade, but then lost the crown to Arthur the year after she won when she misspelled the word "preparation" by replacing the first "A" with the second "E".
- Sue Ellen Armstrong: Not much is known about their friendship, although they don't hang out very much. In the book Arthur's Valentine, he expected her to be his secret admirer after she transferred to his school, but ultimately ended up with Francine instead. In Sue Ellen's Lost Diary, he and many other friends were able to retrieve her diary she once lost in the Elwood City Public Library.
Arthur is also friends with Alex, Maria, Fern Walters, George Lundgren, Jenna Morgan.
It is hinted in a few episodes, that Arthur wants to be a lot bigger in size, for unknown reasons. In D.W's Snow Mystery, he views himself as someone 1.5 times his normal size. In The World Record, he fantasizes as being the tallest person in the world. In the opening of Buster's Best Behavior, he views himself as being able to make himself much taller. These moments are unexplained.
Arthur is seen playing many sports throughout the show. He usually just plays Baseball and Soccer with his friends, but in the episode "D.W. Goes to Washington" he has a daydream about him playing golf with President Bill Clinton. In "Team Trouble" he plays American Football. He is forward and goalkeeper for the Lakewood Elementary Soccer Team.
Marc Brown first imagined the character of Arthur Read in 1976, when his son, Tolon Brown, asked him to tell him a bedtime story featuring a "weird animal." Brown then came up with an aardvark named Arthur, who worried that his nose was too long. He decided to round the character's face off in the second Arthur book, so as not to frighten children. Brown describes the character as being an "Everykid who experiences all the milestones, those things that are so important in the lives of children."
For the first five seasons of the television series, Arthur Read was voiced by Michael Yarmush. For season six, Yarmush was replaced by Justin Bradley, and for seasons seven and eight, the character's voice was provided by Mark Rendall. Rendall also re-dubbed Season 6 due to complaints from Carol Greenwald stating that Bradley's voice was too low and he lacked the vocal range of Yarmush. After Rendall left, Cameron Ansell took up the role for seasons nine, ten and eleven. Starting with season twelve, he is currently voiced by Dallas Jokic. In the Living Books computer games: Arthur's Teacher Trouble and Arthur's Birthday, he was voiced by Duncan Wold.
Arthur Read's original voice actor, Michael Yarmush, received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actor, for voicing the character. However, his nomination lost to Courtland Mead's role as Gus in Disney's Recess. In 2002, TV Guide ranked Arthur Read No. 26 on its list of the "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time."
In May 1998, the Children's Museum in Boston opened an exhibit titled "Arthur's World", featuring the character and his haunts in the fictional Elwood City. The museum's president Lou Casagrande commented that as the motive for the museum is to get behind well-known children's icons in media and culture, it was natural to have an Arthur-related exhibit. Marc Brown, creator of the Arthur books and television series, said that he felt overwhelmed seeing the twenty-two foot tall inflatable statue of Arthur at the top of the museum; meant to advertise the exhibit within. "Arthur's World" drew in a large amount of visitors; which increased by 40 percent over the summer of the year it opened.
- Arts in America; An Aardvark Gets to the Top (Literally) at a Museum. Sara Rimer, New York Times. August 4th, 1998. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- KING 'ARTHUR' PBS' GENTLE AARDVARK RULES KIDS' TV; HIS SECOND SEASON BEGINS ON MONDAY. Paul Schultz, Daily News Entertainment. Tuesday, October 14, 1997. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- Arthur the Aardvark accepts a Mission. Glenn Collins, New York Times. November 10th, 1996. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- Young Artist Awards Ceremony of 1999, at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- About the Program. PBS Kids.org. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- Arts in America; An Aardvark Gets to the Top (Literally) at a Museum. Sara Rimer, New York Times. August 4th, 1998. Retrieved on December 29th, 2008.
- Arts in America; An cat Gets to the Top (Literally) at a Museum. Sara Rimer, New York Times. August 4th, 1998. Retrieved on December 29