And the UK’s Favourite Children’s Book is…
Stop and take a minute to think about your favourite book from childhood – maybe you like the classics: The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan? Perhaps you favour a particular author, like Jacqueline Wilson, Terry Pratchett or J K Rowling? You may be surprised to find out that none of these made it onto the Top 10 list of favourite children’s books of all time (or, at least, the last 150 years).
The children’s book at the top of the list was favoured out of a poll of more than 2,650 adults, the results of which were compiled in conjunction with a reading initiative called ‘Story Time’ launched by actor (and newest Doctor from Doctor Who) Peter Capaldi, and supported by retailer John Lewis and children’s charity Barnardo’s.
“Being read to as a child is something most of us take for granted,” Mr Capaldi said, “but for many of the children Barnardo’s supports, storytelling and communicating are skills that their parents do not have.”
Mr Capaldi added that by supporting Story Time, a person would be helping the charity to reach out to the parents of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK, by helping them to build the knowledge and confidence they need to help their child “thrive”.
Battling his sticky-with-“hunny” way to the top of the list of favourite children’s book was A A Milne’s 1926 creation, Winnie-the-Pooh, in the first collection of stories about a fictional bear and his friends.
The bear in the book was named after a stuffed teddy bear owned by Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who also lent his name to a character in the stories. Christopher had renamed his teddy from ‘Edward’ to ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ after a bear he saw at London Zoo named Winnie, and a swan he had met on holiday called Pooh.
Christopher’s other toys gave their names to characters in the stories as well: Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, and all of those original stuffed animals are on display at the New York Public Library – with the exception of Roo, who was lost many years ago, as happens with children’s toys. Other characters that appeared in the stories, such as Owl and Rabbit, were made up.
There have been many adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh, from theatre to television to film, and the bear remains a favourite among children to this day. A true and unsurprising winner of the number one spot.
Here is the official list of the Top 10 favourite children’s book:
Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by A A Milne
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1965) by Eric Carle
The Hobbit (1937) by J R R Tolkien
The Gruffalo (1999 – the most recent book on the list) by Julia Donaldson
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roald Dahl
Black Beauty (1877) by Anna Sewell
Treasure Island (1883) by Robert Louis Stevenson
The BFG (1950) by Roald Dahl (the only author to make it onto the list more than once)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C S Lewis
What is your favourite children’s book?