Books

Winnie the Pooh beats Harry Potter to top the list of Britain’s favourite children’s book characters

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Victoria Gray
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Winnie the Pooh has come out on top of a survey of Britain’s favourite characters from children’s literature, beating off competition from Harry Potter, the Famous Five and Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

A poll of 1,200 British people who read at least once a week aged 16 and up was commissioned by The Reading Agency and carried out in June 2016.

The results threw up a host of characters from some of our most treasured children’s classics including The Famous Five, the Narnia Chronicles, Charlotte’s Web, and even Spot the Dog.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, the stars of the Harry Potter films

Harry Potter was the second most popular children's character, perhaps owing to the success of the books' film adaptations

Unsurprisingly, Harry Potter took second place in the survey (and first place amongst the women who participated) but Winnie the Pooh came out on top for his universal appeal – and wisdom.

Potter proved most popular in the 16-24 bracket, who have grown up with JK Rowling’s bestselling novels, but Pooh was consistent across all of the age brackets surveyed suggesting that the appeal of A. A. Milne’s books is timeless.

Participants were also asked for reasons behind their choices of top children’s character. 31% of respondents said that their favourite character helped them learn how to be kind, and 27% said their chosen childhood character helped them get through a difficult time.

Winnie the Pooh and friends Christopher Robin, Piglet and Tigger

Pooh and friends playing Charades in a series of new illustrations released last Christmas

The survey was carried out by the Reading Agency, a charity that works to make reading accessible and pleasurable to people of all ages, as part of their Summer Reading Challenge which aims to get children into libraries and this year is taking the form of The Big Friendly Read, linking up with the celebrations of Roald Dahl’s 100th anniversary.  

The Big Friendly Read 2016 from the Reading Agency

Readers of the future are being inspired by this summer's Big Friendly Read campaign

The full list of  top 20 children’s characters is as follows:

1.    Winnie the Pooh

2.    Harry Potter

3.    George, The Famous Five

4.    Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

5.    Matilda

6.    Lucy, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

7.    The Cat in the Hat

8.    Spot the Dog

9.    Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web

10.  Tracey Beaker

11.  Mog, Meg and Mog

12.  Barbar the Elephant

13.  The Little Prince

14.  Arietty, The Borrowers

15.  Willie, Goodnight Mister Tom

16.  Stanley, Flat Stanley

17.  Babe, The Sheep Pig

18.  Lyra, Northern Lights

19.  Grace, Amazing Grace

20.  Hannah, Gorilla

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Victoria Gray

Victoria is a contributor for Stylist.co.uk. She covers lifestyle and food pieces for the site. When on the internet she can be found tweeting feverishly about Great British Bake Off, and offline she is never happier than when in the company of some wine and cheese.

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