Matilda lives in the Alps, Long John Silver appeared in Peter Pan and Aslan is a giraffe.
These are just some examples of the confusion among UK youngsters about classic children’s characters.
A new poll suggests that knowledge of children’s literature is sometimes sketchy at best, while traditional classics such as Swallows and Amazons and Anne of Green Gables are at risk of being consigned to history.
Around one in six (18 per cent) of the 500 seven to 14-year-olds questioned said it was not Heidi that lived in the Alps, but Roald Dahl’s Matilda, while around one in eight (13 per cent) thought the mountains were home to Tracy Beaker.
And although over half knew that Aslan, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, was a lion, 18 per cent suggested he was a giraffe – and the same proportion thought he might be a bear.
There was further confusion over CS Lewis’s classic novel. A quarter would have been surprised to find themselves in Narnia, with 17 per cent saying the wardrobe led to The Secret Garden and 8 per cent believing it ended up in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
Three fifths (61 per cent) of the youngsters questioned knew that Long John Silver appeared in Treasure Island, but one in ten (10 per cent) thought he was from Peter Pan.
The survey, by Worcester University, suggests that classic children’s characters like Jemima Puddleduck and Pippi Longstocking are at risk of being forgotten by the nation’s children.
Perhaps surprisingly, only half of the children questioned had heard of Harry Potter.
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