At four years old, my Dad read them to me a little each night over a period of about a year. I also grew up with the cartoon versions. Gollum lived under my bed for quite a long time, resulting in an aversion to dangling my feet over a bed that still pervades today.
Favorite Tolkien character:
It varies, but I think Faramir might be above the others. He's noble, heroic, and brave; his part of the story has depth, inner struggle, and romance. And yet, he also has humility and a humanity to him. He remains grounded in reality enough that makes it easier to relate to him.