J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter has been named the most inspirational children’s book character – beating fellow Hogwarts student Hermione Granger to the top spot.
The young wizard won the hearts of readers throughout the seven book instalments, after discovering his magical powers at the age of 11.
Harry went on to fight off Dementors, trolls and giant spiders – which were later brought to life through box office hits.
Coming in at second was Roald Dahl’s uber intelligent Matilda, closely followed by the author’s loveable protagonist Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The poll of 2,000 parents highlights the importance of parental relationships and reading, with many characters and books being passed down through generations.
Also making the top 50 inspirational children’s characters were Mary Poppins, Paddington Bear and Peter Pan.
Residents of A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood proved popular, with Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and Tigger all featuring in the list.
The survey was commissioned by The Works, which is supporting parents in helping their children embrace reading.
Dr Jane Murray, who specialises in early childhood education, said on behalf of The Works: “The research shows how books are as important as ever and the positive impact they have on a child’s development and relationship with their parents and other carers
“At the heart of every story there is a good character and the research shows how nostalgic and classic characters continue to inspire parents and children throughout life.
“It’s great to see how adults are helping their children to embrace reading and discover fictional worlds and characters who can influence their child’s behaviour and outlook.”
The research also found the most inspirational book titles included The BFG, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
On average, parents read with their children five times a week and six in 10 said they really enjoy this time spent with their youngsters.
Over half have made ‘story time’ a part of their kids’ bedtime routine most nights, which explains why the most common place to read to them is in the child’s bed.
A further 70 per cent admit they think it’s important for children to have inspirational characters to look up to in stories and four in 10 typically try to read books along these lines.
Over one third have read a book they loved from their own childhood to their offspring, and 62 per cent of modern kids ‘loved’ the classic read.
Despite this, more parents said today’s books are better than their own youthful stories.
The study proved how reading is still vital to parent and child relationships today, with four in five stating it is one of the best ways to bond with their kids.
Almost two thirds admitted they will miss reading with their children once they’re too old.
Half of those polled, via OnePoll, said they have had to read ‘lots’ of books over and over again at their child’s demand, with three in 10 even knowing a book off heart as they’ve read it so many times.
The average amount of times a parent has re-read their child’s favourite book to them is an astonishing 37.
The most popular titles to read multiple times were found to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Dr Murray added: “Books not only help children to learn, but they also help them to be happier.
“A survey of more than 44,000 children found that the more books a child owns, the more likely they are to be doing well at school and to be happy with their lives.
“Babies attune to the human voice to help them to learn, so when a parent and young child focus together on a book, for example, pointing at pictures and repeating the words together, their joint attention helps the young child to develop important knowledge and skills about language and reading.”
Top 50 inspirational characters from children’s books:
1. Harry Potter
3. Charlie Bucket, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
4. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling
5. Mary Poppins
6. Winnie the Pooh
7. Peter Pan
8. Paddington Bear
9. Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
10. Peter Rabbit
11. Alice, Alice in Wonderland
12. The Gruffalo’s mouse
13. Mowgli, The Jungle Book
14. Miss Honey, Matilda
15. Tracey Beaker
16. Aslan, The Chronicles of Narnia
17. Mr Fox, Fantastic Mr Fox
18. The very Hungry Caterpillar
19. Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web
20. Gandalf, The Hobbit
21. Lucy, The Chronicles of Narnia
23. Christopher Robin
24. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games trilogy
25. Danny, Danny, the Champion of the World
27. George, The Famous Five
28. Stuart Little, Stuart Little
29. Josephine March, Little Women
30. George, George’s Marvellous Medicine
31. Pippi Longstocking
32. Adrian Mole
33. Topsy and Tim
34. Hazel, Watership Down
35. The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland
36. Wilbur, Charlotte’s Web
37. Barney, Stig of the Dump
39. Jim Hawkins, Treasure Island
40. Little Bear
41. William Brown, Just William
42. Tom Gates
43. Arrietty Clock, The Borrowers
44. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, How to Train Your Dragon
45. Chloe, Mr Stink
46. Alex Ryder
47. Lyra Belacqua, His Dark Materials trilogy
48. Max, Where the Wild Things Are
49. Christopher John Francis Boone, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
50. Stanley Lambchop (a.k.a. Flat Stanley)