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.
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.
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 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
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