In 2001 the British Film Institute surveyed kids on their favorite cartoons and cartoon characters. Here are the results.
Five essential ingredients for successful animated characters:
- They should make children laugh or feel happy – with their different looks, funny voices, use of imitable catchphrases;
- They should expand children’s imaginations by blurring fantasy and reality – by doing things real people cannot do or acting irreverently;
- They should remain in character and behave logically, however fantastic their situation or location;
- They should have a problem to solve, go through a journey or adventure – but their stories need not always end in the same predictable, entirely successful outcome;
- They should have natural movements and their mouths should form words properly – children have high expectations!
The type or style of animation – whether characters are drawings, puppets or models – is not so important; neither is the country of origin.
Further details here.