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These are the top 20 children’s books that parents love to read

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the best-loved children’s book – according to parents, a study found


Despite being published in 1969, the Eric Carle tale of a caterpillar hatching from its egg and eating its way through various foods, came top of the pile of books parents most love reading to their children. At the end of the story, after suffering stomach ache following its huge feast, the caterpillar spins a cocoon and later emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

Second place in the poll went Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, which has sold more than 13 million copies and been turned into a show for TV and theatre.

The Cat in the Hat, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The BFG completed the top five.

The study of 2,000 parents by also found nine in 10 fed-up mums and dads face reading the same few books over and over, with one in three even admitting they often pretend to lose a book from time to time to avoid having to read it again. It’s worth remembering what some of the research says about the importance of dads reading to their children.

More than three-quarters of parents even have books they have read so often, they know them off by heart, while six in 10 have tried to skip pages without their children noticing. founder Siobhan Freegard said: “Practice makes perfect and that’s never truer than when it comes to reading.

“Though you may have read your child’s favourite book two hundred times and know it off by heart, it’s a price worth paying to give them the gift of words.

“Though the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar has come top in our poll, there are dozens of new books and authors breaking through with a modern twist to keep even the fussiest readers enthralled.”

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came sixth in the list of children’s books parents enjoy reading, followed by Winnie-The-Pooh and Dear Zoo.

The Harry Potter series and Room on the Broom completed the top ten.

Other stories which are popular with both children and their mums and dads include The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Matilda and Charlotte’s Web.

Researchers from found the average parent reads to their children four times a week, amounting to around an hour in total.

And while the average parent starts reading to their child around the age of two, 44 percent were sitting down to a story before their first birthday.

More than three quarters of mums and dads also admitted to reading a book they loved from their childhood to try and encourage their son or daughter to become a fan.

But 94 percent enjoy reading to their children, with more than nine in 10 seeing it as an opportunity to bond with their offspring.



1.            The Very Hungry Caterpillar

2.            The Gruffalo

3.            The Cat in the Hat

4.            We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

5.            The BFG

6.            Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

7.            Winnie-The-Pooh

8.            Dear Zoo

9.            The Harry Potter series

10.         Room on the Broom

11.         The Tiger Who Came to Tea

12.         Matilda

13.         The Snowman

14.         James and the Giant Peach

15.         Horrid Henry

16.         Stickman

17.         Where’s Spot?

18.         Charlotte’s Web

19.         That’s Not My Monkey

20.         The Three Billy Goats Gruff

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