Winnie the Pooh beats Harry Potter in poll of favourite children’s book characters

Adults have fond memories of characters who are adventurous, friendly or cheeky, such as Matilda and Tracey Beaker

“Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart,” according to Winnie the Pooh – who has found a place in the hearts of more people than any other children’s book character, a new poll reveals.

The Bear of Very Little Brain has beaten wizarding hero Harry Potter to the top spot in a new list of favourite childhood book characters, according to the Reading Agency, which polled 1,200 people who read at least once a week.

George from Enid Blyton’s series The Famous Five was in third place, with other popular characters including Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Lucy from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Pooh is loved by all age groups, with 28 per cent of people naming him as their favourite.

The boy wizard

Harry Potter is favourite among younger adults – 48 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds put him first. But 3 per cent of those over 55, who would have been in their mid-30s when the first book was published, also voted for the boy wizard.

Almost half of people (45 per cent) said they chose their favourite character for their adventurous nature, a third picked characters who felt like a good friend, and a third said they were drawn to their cheekiness.

More than a third (37 per cent) said their favourite character had taught them that it was OK to be different.

The poll was completed ahead of the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge, which takes place in libraries across the country during July and August, to encourage children to read during the holidays.

Sue Wilkinson, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We were curious about which characters would stand the test of time and stay with us into adulthood, and the ones that would remain firm favourites across the generations.

“We hope that the children walking through the doors of libraries enjoy taking part and finish the summer with a new-found love of reading.”

Favourite children’s book characters: the full list

  1. Winnie the Pooh
  2. Harry Potter
  3. George – The Famous Five series
  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 series
  12. Babar the Elephant
  13. The Little Prince
  14. Arrietty – The Borrowers
  15. Willie, Goodnight Mister Tom
  16. Stanley – Flat Stanley series
  17. Babe – The SheepPig
  18. Lyra – His Dark Materials trilogy
  19. Grace, Amazing Grace
  20. Hannah, Gorilla

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