Every Country’s Favourite Bedtime Story

September 2, 2022Uncategorised

 

Being read our favourite bedtime stories can often be a core memory from our childhood. From Willy Wonka’s eccentric tour around his magnificent chocolate factory, to Max’s midnight adventure as King of the Wild Things. There’s no end to the number of mesmerising worlds we can get lost in with our children as they continue to grow and develop their speaking and reading skills.

Some books are catapulted to fame and quickly become much-loved household names, and some even get their moment in the cinema when they’re adapted for the big screen, but which ones are closest to our hearts? We wanted to find out exactly which of our favourite stories spend more time in our children’s hands than on the bookshelf; so we ran the data to discover which ones are being searched for the most in each country around the world.

The UK’s Top 10 Favourite Bedtime Stories

Selling over 100 million copies worldwide, the UK’s favourite bedtime story is the series of children’s books known as Mr. Men. The first ever book was called Mr. Tickle, accompanied by an illustration of a round, orange figure with long arms – an idea that was sparked when author Roger Hargreaves’ son asked him what a tickle looked like.

The second most popular bedtime story in the UK is Alice in Wonderland, a Victorian era fictional story about a little girl that falls down a rabbit hole and enters a mystical world full of mad creatures. The book has since been translated into 174 different languages and has been adapted into works for TV and film numerous times, the 2010 version being directed by the iconic Tim Burton.

Completing the top three favourite bedtime stories for the UK, is Neil Gaiman’s children’s novella Coraline. Converted into a film starring Dakota Fanning as Coraline herself in 2009, the book won numerous awards for Young Readers and the entire character was inspired by a simple typo one day when Gaiman wrote the name Caroline incorrectly.

The rest of the top 10 is made up of other fan favourites for early readers, including classics from Roald Dahl such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and more modern works of fiction such as Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry franchise.

RankBedtime StoryAuthorYear PublishedNo. of Google Searches
1Mr. MenRoger Hargreaves197197,700
2Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll186571,800
3CoralineNeil Gaiman200259,000
4Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRoald Dahl196454,300
5Horrid HenryFrancesca Simon199452,600
6MatildaRoald Dahl198851,700
7Winnie the PoohA. A. Milne192648,100
8FunnybonesJanet & Allan Ahlberg198037,000
9A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens184336,900
10The Worst WitchJill Murphy197435,700

The World’s Top 50 Favourite Bedtime Stories

The most searched for bedtime story globally is Lewis Carroll’s transcendent telling of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, with Gaiman’s Coraline and Roald Dahl and his recounting of the fictional chocolate factory belonging to Willy Wonka completing the top three.

Other notable stories that made the globally most searched for rankings include childhood classic Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne’s heartwarming tale about a bear and his friends that live in a place called the Hundred Acre Wood; and The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson’s much-loved and beautifully illustrated adventure of a little mouse who encounters a terrifying Gruffalo on a walk through the woods.

J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl were the two most frequently featured authors in the global rankings, the former with all seven of her Harry Potter books entering the top 50, and the latter with six of his charming children’s books ranking as some of the most loved around the world.

When it comes to what the world is reading to their children, it seems that our classic favourites are going nowhere quickly, with more than 80% of the top 50 having been published prior to the 21st century. Classic stories like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were published many moons ago, in 1697 and 1740 respectively, and are both still just as popular today, having been transformed into Disney movies that have truly stood the test of time.

RankBedtime StoryAuthorYear PublishedNo. of Google Searches
1Alice in WonderlandLewis Carroll1865587,280
2CoralineNeil Gaiman2002572,730
3Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRoald Dahl1964419,520
4MatildaRoald Dahl1988327,910
5Winnie the PoohA. A. Milne1926324,920
6Shrek!William Steig1990309,040
7Mr. MenRoger Hargreaves1971288,900
8Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneJ. K. Rowling1997271,110
9Artemis FowlEoin Colfer2001262,790
10Where the Wild Things AreMaurice Sendak1963240,160
11The Rainbow FishMarcus Pfister1992231,180
12CorduroyDon Freeman1968213,450
13MadelineLudwig Bemelmans1939212,030
14The Cat in the HatDr. Seuss1957203,670
15Pete the CatJames Dean2008193,750
16The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry1943190,330
17Treasure IslandRobert Louis Stevenson1883189,240
18Peter PanJames Matthew Barrie1911184,770
19Fantastic Mr FoxRoald Dahl1970182,250
20Charlotte’s WebE. B. White1952178,640
21A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens1843172,560
22Anne of Green GablesL. M. Montgomery1908155,800
23Black BeautyAnna Sewell1877154,990
24Horrid HenryFrancesca Simon1994151,630
25The BFGRoald Dahl1982151,150
26Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsJ. K. Rowling2007146,750
27Bridge to TerabithiaKatherine Paterson1977144,390
28Mary PoppinsPamela Lyndon Travers1934139,670
29Love You ForeverRobert Munsch1986137,150
30Curious GeorgeMargret & H. A. Rey1941136,020
31Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ. K. Rowling1998133,850
32James and the Giant PeachRoald Dahl1961131,540
33CinderellaCharles Perrault1697125,440
34Beauty and the BeastGabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve1740121,760
35HeidiJohanna Spyri1880120,660
36Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ. K. Rowling2000120,260
37Clifford the Big Red DogNorman Bridwell1963119,530
38The GruffaloJulia Donaldson1999106,500
39Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanJ. K. Rowling1999105,850
40The Famous FiveEnid Blyton1942105,280
41The Worst WitchJill Murphy197498,570
42Harry Potter and the Half Blood PrinceJ. K. Rowling200594,950
43Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixJ. K. Rowling200394,810
44A Little PrincessFrances Hodgson Burnett190590,090
45Oliver TwistCharles Dickens183787,830
46FunnybonesJanet & Allan Ahlberg198085,240
47Goodnight MoonMargaret Wise Brown194784,780
48The WitchesRoald Dahl198383,920
49The Lion, The Witch and the WardrobeC. S. Lewis195083,260
50The SnowmanRaymond Briggs197882,880

Every Country’s Favourite Bedtime Story

Europe

Europe’s favourite overall story to read to their children at bedtime is Alice in Wonderland (221,260 searches), followed by Mr. Men (209,800 searches) and Coraline (180,000), with all three authors hailing from England.

Asia

When it came to Asia’s favourite bedtime story, Lewis Carroll’s adventures through Wonderland also held their position in first place – with a combined 112,620 global searches last year. The top three was completed by Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (109,360 searches) and J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (61,100 searches).

Africa

Africa’s top three preferred tales to fall asleep to consisted of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in first place with 15,420 searches across the continent, another Roald Dahl entry in second with Matilda seeing 12,490 searches and Alice in Wonderland completing the three – with 11,060 searches across all African countries combined.

North and Central America

In North and Central America it was actually Neil Gaiman’s Coraline that came out on top, with 286,520 searches for it across the continent. Alice in Wonderland came second with 199,400 searches, and the top three was rounded off by Corduroy (185,510 searches) – a sweet story about a teddy bear in a department store, and the book’s first entry into a top three ranking across the research.

South America

South America’s top bedtime story is also Alice in Wonderland, with searches across the continent totalling 14,590. The first Harry Potter novel where he seeks the Philosopher’s stone came second, seeing a total of 13,230 searches; and Coraline came third, 11,970 searches combined in all south American countries.

Oceania

In Oceania, it was Gaiman’s Coraline that took first place as the most searched for bedtime tale – a total of 29,730 Google searches recorded. In second it was Alice in Wonderland (28,350 searches) and the top three was finalised by Mr. Men with 25,250 searches.

We hope this list has given you all the inspiration you need for your child’s next bedtime read, and if your little one’s favourite possession is a dog-eared copy of their most treasured tale – why not get them their own personalised bedtime book?

Methodology:

A seedlist of over 370 children’s books was collated, using articles listing the best children’s books of all time and the top Amazon children’s book charts in the top 10 most widely spoken languages. The total number of Google searches for each book name + the keyword ‘book’ was calculated for each country across the globe for the last 12 months, and the results were then ranked according to which book saw the highest number of Google searches within each country.

All data correct as of August 2022.