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Roald Dahl characters still dominate children's favourites

Mon 19 Apr 2010 01:03:37 | 0 comments

Roald Dahl outside the garden shed where he wrote. Photograph: Ian Cook/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Roald Dahl's tales of the unexpected continue to exert a magical pull on children's imaginations
almost 20 years after he died, with the Big Friendly Giant, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda and Charlie Bucket all making it into a list of children's favourite fictional characters.

An eclectic mix of classic titles, television spin-offs, modern favourites and fairy stories emerged when books charity Booktrust asked 1,318 children aged between five and 12 to pick their favourite literary characters. The list was, inevitably, topped by bespectacled wizard Harry Potter, but Dahl was the
author to collect the most mentions from children, with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Charlie coming in 10th, Matilda 15th, Fantastic Mr Fox 16th and the BFG 20th. "Roald Dahl's books are like modern fairy tales. The books still resonate because they sparkle with his genius," said Katherine Solomon at Booktrust. "It is no wonder that he is still so appealing: his books have such a vibrant and vivid mixture of grotesque dark characters filled with a wicked humour and unbelievable energy."

Francesca Simon's mop-haired rascal Horrid Henry was second favourite, followed by Jacqueline Wilson's Tracy Beaker in third. The likes of Hannah Montana, Ben 10 and Doctor Who also muscled in on the top 10, relegating Peter Pan and Cinderella into joint 11th place, but Winnie the Pooh managed to sneak into the top 10 in eighth place, ahead of Dav Pilkey's creation Captain Underpants.

The research also found that the most powerful ingredient for attracting children to a particular book was character, with 51% citing that as their reason for reading a title, ahead of plot at 43%. Thirty eight
percent were attracted to a book if was based on a television show, and 32% if it was based on a film, while just 5% said they would read a book if a celebrity such as David Walliams or Madonna had written it.

The top 20 in full:

1. Harry Potter

2. Horrid Henry

3. Tracy Beaker

4. Biff, Chip and Kipper (school reading scheme characters)

5. Hannah Montana

6. Doctor Who

7. Ben 10

8. Winnie the Pooh

9. Captain Underpants

10. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

11= Cinderella

11= Gruffalo

11= Peter Pan

11= Charlie and Lola

15. Matilda

16= Alex Rider

16= Fantastic Mr Fox

16= Spiderman

19. Thomas The Tank Engine

20. BFG

Courtesy: Alison Flood




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