by A.A. Milne
Genres: Childrens, Classic
Format: Hardcover (145 pages)
More than sixty years ago, Christopher Robin took his friend Edward Bear—who came to be known to millions as Winnie-the-Pooh—by one chubby paw and brought him unceremoniously downstairs. Pooh has endured, still slightly rotund, a Bear of Very Little Brain, but very generous of heart: the immortal creation of A. A. Milne, who wrote this book for his only son, Christopher Robin, and Ernest H. Shepard, who lovingly gave Pooh and his companions shape.
The adventures of Pooh and Piglet, Owl, Tigger, and the ever doleful Eeyore, are timeless treasures of childhood. These tales still speak to all of us with the freshness that distinguishes true storytelling.
Short and Sweet Version
A classic that really shows the charming literalness, innocence, and adorable self-centered logic of childhood. The writing really shines when you read it out loud and I enjoyed reading it as much as my kids enjoyed listening to it.
Jessica Thinks Too Much Version
I was surprised at how many writing “rules” this childhood classic breaks and yet it works so well! It’s told in the style of Princess Bride by having a story within a story. There’s the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and his fictional adventures and then there’s the interruptions and questions from the “real” Christopher Robin. But the two stories are blended together since it’s written in second person. Every time Christopher Robin is mentioned in the fictional adventure, he’s referred to as “you.” It can be a little confusing at first, but I think the kids liked it because it involves them if you pretend like they are Christopher Robin. The writing is so animated and a lot of fun to read out loud to my kids. I recognized a lot of the stories from the Disney movie, which is how I was first introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh.
In the chapter “In Which Piglet Meets A Heffalump” I loved how it illustrated the adorable self-centered logic of kids. Piglet and Pooh decide how to catch a Heffalump entirely based on how they would be caught in a trap. It’s endearing to see it play out. I feel like the best kid’s stories have insights for adults but are appealing to kids as well. Winnie-the-Pooh definitely does that. There were a few times where I would laugh and they would ask me to explain what was funny.
Maybe it’s just an example of how much the world has changed, but I found the chapter where they kidnap Baby Roo mildly alarming. I’m not criticizing the chapter – it was just a realization for me that the world I live in is very different from the world even 80 years ago. It was still a lot of fun to read. Kanga got back at them for kidnapping Roo in the funniest way possible. Don’t mess with moms. They will outsmart you. There were a few other elements that felt dated that needed a little background and explanation for my kids like putting a message in a bottle. They really just couldn’t grasp that idea.
Winnie-the-Pooh has a very distinct writing style that is easily recognizable. My favorite element of the writing style were the capital letters which changed the tone of the sentence. This is one of my favorite examples of it. It also has some of that humor that appeals to adults.
You can imagine Piglet’s joy when at last the ship came in sight of him. In after-years he liked to think that he had been in Very Great Danger during the Terrible Flood, but the only danger he had really been in was in the last half-hour of his imprsionment, when Owl, who had just flown up, sat on a branch of his tree to comfort him, and told him a very long story about an aunt who had once laid a seagull’s egg by mistake, and the story went on and on, rather like this sentence, until Piglet who was listening out of his window without much hope, went to sleep quietly and naturally, slipping slowly out of the window towards the water until he was only hanging on by his toes, at which moment luckily, a sudden loud squawk from Owl, which was really part of the story, being what his aunt said, woke the Piglet up and just gave him time to jerk himself back into safety and say, “How interesting, and did she?” when — well, you can imagine his joy when at last he saw the good ship, The Brain of Pooh (Captain C. Robin; 1st Mate P. Bear) coming over the sea to rescue him.
– A. A. Milne, Winne-the-Pooh (pg 145-146)
I forget how charming kids can really be when they are being their cute, literal selves. The story of them going on an expedition to the North Pole was a good example of that. Instead of a place, they were looking for an object. Obviously it’s a long pole that Pooh happens to find.
Summer is just starting and I’m having a blast doing all kinds of fun things with my kids. This is my new mantra for the summer.
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
– A. A. Milne, Winne-the-Pooh (pg 160)
Content Rating: None. Clean read.
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