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Funny books score over fairytales

Traditional bedtime fairytales are losing their popularity among kids who are turning to funny books, says a study.

books Updated: May 31, 2008 11:03 IST

Harry Potter may be an all-time favourite for toddlers, but when it comes to bedtime stories, it seems they prefer funny books over fairytales.

A new study in Britain has revealed that traditional bedtime classics and fairytales are increasingly losing their popularity among kids who are turning to lighter books that evoke fun and laughter.

Researchers interviewed 2,207 parents with children under 16 for the study. Those having teenage offsprings were asked to remember reading to them when they were under ten.

Funny stories proved to be the most popular category, with 28 per cent of parents saying they were their childrens favourites, compared to 12 per cent whose children preferred fairytales, The Daily Telegraph reported today.

And what's more surprising is that the study found just one per cent of children opted for fables such as Aesop's The Tortoise and the Hare as their choice category.

The top three favourite books were The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and The BFG by Roald Dahl -- selected above The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, The Wind in Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery.

But, despite the change in trends, fewer than half of parents -- 49 per cent -- admitted reading to their children every day while one in ten skipped pages to get to the end faster, the researchers found.

Moreover, with the ascent of funny books, the majority of respondents who read to their children said they're using different voices to bring the often batty tales to life. Of the 84 per cent who put on accents, the most popular voice for a villain was Cockney while the Queen's English was most commonly used to depict a hero.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher of the National Year of Reading, which conducted the study, said: "Laughing and sharing stories together has to be one of life's simple pleasures, and so this trend toward funny books comes as no surprise.

"It is great to see so many parents embracing humour to make reading aloud really fun for them and their children, but we need to get all parents confident as storytellers, reading aloud as a matter of habit."