Nigel Ratburn
Nigel Ratburn
Gender Male
Animal Rat
Eye color Brown[1]
Hair color Brown[2]
Complexion Brown (s1-s5, s16-present)
Orange (s6-s15)
Favorite color Magenta[3]
Residence Mr. Ratburn's House, Elwood City
Family Rodentia Ratburn (sister)
Lisa Ratburn (mother)
Otto Ratburn (father)
Rodentia Ratburn's child (niece or nephew)
Olga Ratburn (grandmother)
Hans Ratburn (grandfather)
Job Teacher
Book debut Arthur and the True Francine
Cartoon debut "Arthur's Eyes"
Voiced by Arthur Holden (TV series)
David Kessler (Living Books)

Nigel Charles Ratburn[4] (formerly Emil Ratburn[5]) is a 3rd Grade teacher at Lakewood Elementary School.


Past life

When Mr. Ratburn was a baby, he wore on a light blue sweater with a white collar, a red bow tie, white cloth diapers with pins, and bright red shoes and blue socks.

As a kid, he had two outfits - a school uniform that was colored blue like Glenbrook Academy's dress code and the uniform that had the school's badge on it. Then, he had casual clothes that he wore to events, like the Father's Day picnic. They consisted of a blue buttoned shirt with a white shirt under it and blue pants.

He used to be a "fatty rat" (in his words when talking with Arthur in Arthur Weighs In) until he learned how to play ping-pong.

As a young adult, he attended Elwood City High School with Bailey,[6] David Read,[7] and Mr. Haney.[8]

In "Arthur's Almost Boring Day", it was revealed that he was a member of the Elwood City High School Football team

In college, he was in a band called the "Ratburn Rats".[9]

Future life

Not much has been seen about Mr. Ratburn's future. But in the future in the episode, "Buster Makes the Grade" happens, Mr. Ratburn will continue his career as a teacher at Lakewood Elementary. He announces he will be a 4th-grade teacher in season 19.

In Arthur's dream in "D.W. and the Beastly Birthday", Mr. Ratburn is seen four years in the future, with a beard and glasses. He wears a black suit and turtleneck sweater.

Physical appearance

  • Ratburn in seasons 1-5
  • Ratburn in seasons 6-15
  • Ratburn in seasons 16 to present

Mr. Ratburn's appearance consists of a green suit complete with a solid yellow shirt and bright red necktie (in the books, his uniform ranges to different colors). Being a rat, he has long whiskers, which he appears to keep trimmed.

He has brown clumps of hair in the books; although, in the cartoon show, his hair was restricted to thin black lines. He also wears his shirts tucked into his pants and always wears a belt buckle with his pants. He also wears blue pajamas and in one episode he wore a turquoise night shirt and another episode he also wore a tan colored sweater and black pants and wear brown or black slippers.

His casual clothing consists of a cream-colored T-shirt and faded blue jeans. For formal occasions, Mr. Ratburn wears a charcoal or black Tuxedo jacket with a white Tuxedo shirt black bow tie and charcoal or black Tuxedo trousers.

When outdoors for something like fossil-hunting, Mr. Ratburn wears a dark brown hat with a yellow line on the bottom of the tip of the hat going all around the tip. He also wears a very light yellow or beige shirt a dark blue scarf tucked into the shirt.

There is also a short-sleeved beige jacket with two pockets one on each side of the jacket and two shoulder straps one on each side of the jacket. He also wears blue shorts very light yellow or beige socks and light brown boots. He always carries a briefcase with him to class.


He tends to give out a lot of homework to the kids in his class. Sometimes he assigns two research projects in the same week.


Because of these tendencies, he's considered the strictest teacher at Lakewood Elementary School often.

And yet, many of Arthur and his friends find out he's not as bad as they first thought after he explains about organization, self-discipline and how they can do their homework in time for things they like to do. Although the Brain seems to have no problem with him, Buster has the strongest dislike for homework. But even though Mr. Ratburn is calm and cool, he cackles uncontrollably in the dream sequences that the other characters have involving him.

Mr. Ratburn is often friendly, helpful and good-natured, rarely showing any hint of malice and has shown that he truly cares about his students time and time again. Mr. Ratburn takes his role as a teacher seriously and often tries to mentor his students, occasionally in non-academic fields. When Mr. Ratburn's roof collapsed, Mr. Ratburn went to stay with the Read family, showing a more laid back, jovial side to him.

He struggles with modern technology at times, such as computers, though finally became acclimated to a tablet device called the BoysenBerry.

In other media

In the Living Books computer games, he came out in Arthur's Teacher Trouble, even though there's a shadow look-alike of him walking outside while Arthur and Jane are out shopping for party supplies in Arthur's Birthday. He was voiced by David Kessler before the cartoon show replaced him with Arthur Holden.

In the later computer games (such as Arthur's Thinking Games), Mr. Ratburn's appearance was the same as he looked in the cartoon show.


See Nigel Ratburn's class.


Mr. Ratburn has numerous jobs. In "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn", it's revealed that Mr. Ratburn's a teacher, a basketball coach, and works on the school newspaper. In his spare time, he administers puppet shows that are popular among young kids. In "The Short, Quick Summer," Mr. Ratburn got a summer job at Jack's Joke Shop, where he worked as a cashier and helped Sue Ellen learn a card game magic trick.


  • Outside of school, Mr. Ratburn is shown to enjoy many jovial pursuits, such as magic, puppeteering, and camping.
  • The car that Mr. Ratburn drives is a red roadster convertible.
  • Mr. Ratburn is a fanatic of Spooky Poo, a play on the Hanna-Barbera-based Scooby-Doo show.
  • A running gag is Mr. Ratburn knowing nothing about computers or the Internet.
  • Another running gag is his love (almost obsession) of desserts, especially for cake.
  • In For the Birds, Mr. Ratburn mentions that bird watching has been a favorite past time of his since he was a child.
  • In "Cents-less”, Mr. Ratburn is shown feeding two goldfish, whom he calls Vladimir and Estragon. It would seem that Mr. Ratburn has named his pets in honor of two characters from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
  • For the first few seasons, he has brown skin then changed to orange in the next few seasons and back to brown in season sixteen and seventeen.
  • It is revealed in Arthur's Baby, he knew how to write multiplication sentences at age 1 (or possibly 2).
  • He went to high school at the same time as David Read and Mr. Haney.
  • He may or may not be part Native American (specifically Cheyenne).[10]
  • He is part of a rock band called "The Lost Teachers", as seen in Lend Me Your Ear. He has become hard of hearing due to not having initially worn ear protection when practicing.



Ratburn card
The full image gallery for Nigel Ratburn may be viewed at Nigel Ratburn/Gallery.


  1. "Buster's Growing Grudge"
  2. "The Buster Report" - he grew out his hair when he was in the band.
  4. "Bitzi's Beau"
  5. in "Arthur's Baby" and "Background Blues"
  6. "The Butler Did... What?"
  7. "Arthur's Almost Boring Day"
  8. "Arthur's Almost Boring Day"
  9. The Buster Report
  10. "In fact, that Ratburn fellow looks a lot like a Cheyenne I used to know named Tahmelapachme. That means "dull knife." (chuckles)"Sitting Bull, "On This Spot"