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Jim Button is the protagonist of a two-book series by Michael Ende (author of The Neverending Story), consisting of Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver (Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer) and Jim Button and the Wild 13 (Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13). He is a young, colored boy who was found as a baby in a package which has accidentally been sent to Morrowland.
Jim Button provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The 1996 animated series has the same main characters and basic plot as the books, but is padded with a lot of added characters and subplots.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Happens in both books, more spectacularly with the dragon Mrs. Grindtooth, as in this universe any dragon who is defeated but not killed turns into a Golden Dragon of Wisdom.
- Divided for Publication: Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver was supposed to be just one book, but the editors felt it was too long for a "kiddie book", and made Ende split it in two. (This was long before J. K. Rowling.)
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Mandalia is an idealized version of Imperial China. (In earlier editions, it actually was named China.)
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Jim and Luke.
- Living Ship: Luke's locomotive Emma literally gives birth to Jim's locomotive, Molly.
- No Export for You: Only the first Jim Button book has been translated into English; the translation was published over 20 years ago, hasn't been reprinted since, and goes for about $250 on Amazon.
- Our Dragons Are Different: While the dragons of Jim Button fulfill the classic role of dragons who are evil, breathe fire and kidnap princesses (well, at least one princess), this trope turns out to be a very important plot point.
- Perpetual Motion Machine: Invented by the protagonists of the second book. Essentially, their version is based on a magnet which you can switch on and off, which pulls their locomotive.
- Perspective Magic: Poor Mr. Tur Tur appears to be larger the further away from him you stand. It didn't do wonders for his social life. He eventually managed to make good use of this by getting a job as a lighthouse keeper (or actually, as a light house) at Jim's island home.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Most of the supporting characters have skills or powers that eventually turn out to be very useful for some part of the plot.
- Two Plus Torture Makes Five: The dragon Mrs. Grindtooth (Frau Mahlzahn) tries to use this technique on her pupil/slave Li Si. Li Si, being both very intelligent and very brave, refuses to fold.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Babies in Mandalia are well-educated and verbose even before they get the hang of walking, as Ping Pong demonstrates.