He is described by some to be rude, a bad example to others, and the central character in "a national scandal".
But family favourite Thomas the Tank Engine is the television character David Cameron most identifies with, the Prime Minister has admitted.
The PM said although he is often physically compared with Spencer, a sleek engine privately owned by the Duke and Duchess of Boxford, he is most like the title character from the long-running series, set on the fictional Island of Sodor.
In an interview with parenting site Netmums.com, Mr Cameron said: "People have said I look like his friend, Spencer, but I'd rather be Thomas.
"He's a British icon, he's blue, he's loyal and reliable - and he always saves the day.
"And after 30 years on our screens he hasn't aged at all."
The Thomas The Tank Engine series, written by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, has been a firm fixture on bookshelves and television screens across the country for decades.
But the series, previously narrated by Ringo Starr, has also received some criticism, notably in 2013 from the then-shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh, who complained about the lack of female train drivers and said it provided a poor example for youngsters.
Other UK party leaders also joined Mr Cameron in selecting the children's character they are most like, with the Prime Minister's coalition partner Nick Clegg opting for the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear Paddington.
Labour leader Ed Miliband told Netmums he saw himself as brave Captain Barnacles while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was most like Katie Morag, a shopkeeper's daughter who lives on a fictional island off the west coast of Scotland and often wears a Tartan skirt.
While their TV choices were diverse, those party leaders with children were united in insisting they were just normal parents when they did the school run. Mr Cameron said he took children Florence, Elwen and Nancy to school at least once a fortnight but laughed that eldest daughter Nancy "won't want me cramping her style" once she starts senior school in September.
Opposition leader Mr Miliband said: "When I'm with Daniel and Sam people just treat me like a normal parent", and the Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg added: "Miriam and I take turns doing the school run, and I try to be there in the evenings for mealtime and putting the boys to bed."