The Buddy character acts as the Learner’s pal, the friend who sits at the next desk in class, so will look approximately the same age as the Learner.
The Buddy can show the Learner the ropes, giving practical examples of how to use a technique or strategy, that the Learner can try him/herself afterwards.
The Buddy's help is also optional. Confident Learners can stride ahead, with the Buddy trailing in their wake, as they try out their new skills. Those who are a little less sure of themselves can ask the Buddy for help or suggestions.
On a slightly deeper level, the Buddy can act as a philosophic voice, asking why. Think of the role of Sam in the book Lord of the Rings where he muses on people’s motives as he goes. If an interesting character turns up, the Buddy might muse about why s/he is there or notice if the character’s behaviour is usual or unusual.
The Buddy isn’t there to give the Learner the answers, but to pose interesting questions for the Learner to think about. We want our Learners to be reflective children, wondering why and questioning the world around them. The Buddy models this for the Learner.