The 20 best snippets of relationship wisdom from children’s books

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Who knew literature for kids was full of such gems to help us?

From the loyalty of brothers to a mother’s greatest advice, via the magic of love and the power of friendship, these 20 quotes, chosen by Stylist contributer Katharine Busby, will remind you to think, take care, laugh and be patient in everything life’s complex relationships throw at you.

  • The Wind in the Willows

    By Kenneth Grahame

    “We never allow our friends to make fools of themselves beyond a certain limit.”

  • Oh, The Places You'll Go!

    By Dr Seuss

    “You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.”

  • Olivia

    By Ian Falconer

    “You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway.” 

  • The Twits

    By Roald Dahl

    “‘Whenever you go all quiet like that I know very well you’re plotting something.’

    Mrs Twit was right. Mr Twit was plotting away like mad. He was trying to think up a really nasty trick to play on his wife that day.”

  • Mr and Mrs Spikky Sparrow, from Nonsense Songs & Stories

    By Edward Lear

    “Let us both fly up to town!

    There I’ll buy you such a gown!

    Which, completely in the fashion,

    You shall tie a sky-blue sash on.

    And a pair of slippers neat,

    To fit your darling little feet,

    So that you will look and feel

    Quite galloobious and genteel!”

  • War Horse

    By Micheal Morpurgo

    “Any problem can be solved between people if only they can trust each other.” 

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

    By Judy Blume

    “It's not so much that I like him as a person, God, but as a boy he's very handsome.” 

  • Matilda

    By Roald Dahl

    “Sometimes Matilda longed for a friend, someone like the kind, courageous people in her books.” 

  • A Bear Called Paddington

    By Michael Bond

    “It was then that Paddington saw his cake for the first time. His eyes, usually large and round, became so much larger and rounder, that even Mrs Bird blushed with pride. ‘Special occasions demand special things,’ she said, and hurried off in the direction of the dining room.”

  • The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

    By C. S. Lewis

    “‘I didn’t like to mention it before (he being your brother and all) but the moment I set eyes on that brother of yours I said to myself “Treacherous”. He had the look of one who has been with the Witch and eaten her food. You can always tell them if you’ve lived long enough in Narnia; something about their eyes.’

    ‘All the same,’ said Peter in a rather choking sort of voice, ‘we’ll still have to go and look for him. He is our brother after all, even if he is rather a little beast.’”

  • Frog and Toad Together

    By Arnold Lobel

    “‘Frog,’ he said, ‘I am so glad that you came over.’

    ‘I always do,’ said Frog.”

  • The Railway Children

    By E. Nesbit

    “‘Oh! My Daddy, my Daddy!’ That scream went like a knife into the heart of everyone in the train, and people put their heads out of the windows to see a tall pale man with lips set in a thin close line, and a little girl clinging to him with arms and legs, while his arms went tightly round her.” 

  • Where the Wild Things Are

    By Maurice Sendak

    “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!” 

  • Watership Down

    By Richard Adams

    “When a child is told, for the first time in his life, that a person he has known is dead, although he does not disbelieve it, he may well fail to comprehend it and later ask - perhaps more than once - where the dead person is and when he is coming back.”  

  • Charlotte's Web

    By E. B. White

    “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

  • The Velveteen Rabbit

    By Margery Williams

    “When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

  • Thomas builds a house

    By Gunilla Wolde

    “So Father and Mother And Thomas and Teddy all get inside the little wooden house.

     ‘It’s a bit of a squash,’ says Father, laughing. 

    ‘But a nice sort of squash,’ says Thomas.”

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    By J. K. Rowling

    “’Yes…’ said Ron softly, ‘it’s the only way… I’ve got to be taken.’

    ‘NO!’ Harry and Hermione shouted.

    ‘That’s chess!’ snapped Ron. ‘You’ve got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she’ll take me – that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry.’”

  • The Pelican Chorus, from Nonsense Songs & Stories

    By Edward Lear

    “As soon as he saw our Daughter Dell,

    In violent love that Crane King fell, -

    On seeing her waddling form so fair,

    With a wreath of shrimps in her short white hair,

    And before the end of the next long day,

    Our Dell had given her heart away;

    For the King of the Cranes had won that heart,

    With a crocodile’s egg and a large fish tart.”

  • Forever

    By Judy Bloom

    “Like my mother said, you can’t go back to holding hands.” 

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