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 Arthur and a brief overview of their personalities.
Binky Barnes is a bulldog, which makes sense given his tough exterior and tendency to act like a bully (especially in the earlier seasons of the show). 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 suggests, Nigel Ratburn (known to Arthur and the gang as Mr. 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 always has their best interests at heart and clearly wants to see them succeed.
Tall, slender, and sporting a curly head of brown hair, Prunella Deegan is a poodle. 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 loves to make predictions about the future, though they are rarely accurate. Prunella has a teenage sister, Rubella, and is best friends with Marina Datillo and Muffy Crosswire.
Timmy And Tommy Tibble
Known collectively as the Tibbles or the Tibble twins, Timmy and Tommy are twin bear cubs. 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. While they dress identically, Timmy always wears a blue scarf and Tommy always wears a red scarf so they can be told apart.
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 makes friends easily, is well-liked by her classmates at school, and is a member of the Lakewood Elementary Soccer Team. While she has no siblings, she keeps in touch with her best friend, a panda named Tenzin Wangdu, who lives in Tibet.
Fern Walters is a dog (breed unknown). 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 gifted singer, plays the flute in the school band, and loves telling mystery and horror stories. She also likes to draw and often uses pictures to express herself.
Sporting large antlers that sometimes get in the way of everyday activities, George Lundgren is a moose whose family is from Sweden. He was a minor background character on the show until season nine when he started interacting more with the other kids at Lakewood Elementary and became a main character. Like Fern, George is quiet and shy, and he spends a lot of his time by himself 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. Polite and well-mannered, he gets along well with his peers and is a member of multiple school sports teams, including soccer, baseball, and track. He’s also a member of the Computer Club and plays piano and cello in the school band.
Francine Frensky is a monkey. Energetic and athletic, she excels in sports, particularly soccer, baseball, kickball, and bowling. In earlier seasons of the show, Francine had a bad temper and was often rude to her friends and classmates. She becomes softer and more friendly over the course of the series, though her strong-willed and outgoing personality remains intact. Her character is modeled after the sister of Marc Brown, the original creator, illustrator, and author of the 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 huge mansion and has all the material items she could ever want, including an endless supply of toys and her own clubhouse. While can sometimes act snobby and condescending toward her peers, Muffy has a good heart underneath it all and lots of friends to prove it. 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 has a laid-back, easygoing personality that sometimes prevents him from completing chores or finishing his homework on time. He loves food and will eat almost anything, including items that have expired or fallen on the floor. An avid believer in aliens, He claims to have seen UFOs and almost always believes aliens are the cause of unexplainable events. Buster was the subject of the PBS spin-off series, Postcards from Buster, which aired from 2004 until 2008.
D.W. Read is 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 likes to cause trouble around her family members 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 also loves to read and spend time in the library and can be recognized immediately thanks to his signature pair of large, thick glasses. 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).