Listeners to BBC Radio 2 have voted Julia Donaldson’s timeless children’s tale The Gruffalo as the nation’s favourite bedtime story. Nearly 20,000 listeners voted from a shortlist of eight books and the Gruffalo received around one-fifth of the vote. A.A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh came second and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar came third.
The eight shortlisted books voted for from a long list of 36 stories were:
- Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
- Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet and Allan Ahlberg
- Five On A Treasure Island – Enid Blyton
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
- The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
- Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
- Winnie The Pooh – AA Milne
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the book has sold more than four million copies worldwide since it was published a decade ago.
It tells of an innovative mouse who manages to escape the clutches of an owl, a fox and a snake before finally outwitting the terrifying Gruffalo itself. The book drew a fifth of the votes, beating runner-up Winnie The Pooh and third-placed The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Gruffalo has also been adapted for television by BBC1 – with Robbie Coltrane in the title role – and will be screened at Christmas. The cast also features Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.
The book has won several prizes for children’s literature, and has been made into a West End and Broadway play.
It is intended for readers aged from three to seven.
The long list was compiled by the Jeremy Vine Show, Michael Rosen and in consultation with The Reading Agency, the Youth Libraries Group and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. Voting opened at noon on Monday 2 November and closed at 2.00pm on Thursday 5 November.
Listeners were invited to vote via the Radio 2 website at www.bbc.co.uk/radio2. The site features a short extract of each of the shortlisted stories, voiced by Jeremy Vine, and the long list of 36 titles. Published by Macmillan Children’s Books and celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, The Gruffalo is a worldwide classic and has sold over four million copies around the globe.