Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (novel #166)

illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

Winnie the Pooh is a children’s book about an anthropomorphized stuffed toy bear and his friends. It is probably incorrect to call it a children’s novel or novella, but for the purpose of my blog, I shall nonetheless.
 
I was an early reader. In first or second grade I won an award at school for checking out the most library books. But somewhere after second grade, my reading fell off. Hence I read most of the early grade level books:  Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, and the like, but very few of the mid-grade books like Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, or Winnie the Pooh.

 

This blog is dedicated to my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Banks, who revived my love of reading. At that point however, I moved on to serious literature, and the mid-level children’s books remained a gap in my reading experience.

 

I missed some delightful stories, such as Winnie the Pooh, which is a collection of short stories about the denizens of the 100 Acre Wood and Christopher Robin, the young boy who plays there. Each chapter is a perfect bed-time story length adventure. 

 

Although I've not read Winnie the Pooh previously, I was familiar with the characters from Disney’s adaptation – which is significantly, though not wildly different from the book. I never before realized that Owl and Rabbit are real, living creatures, though anthropomorphized by Christopher Robin’s imagination, whereas Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo are all stuffed toys (Tigger, also a toy, is not introduced until the second book, The House at Pooh Corner).

 

My digital version included original black and white illustrations by E. H. Sheppard, which again are slightly different but not unrecognizable from the familiar Disney portrayals.

 

As I’ve said, it is a delightful read. The characters are innocent, kind, and gentle, though not without some childish naughtiness. They employ silly logic, which is absurd or incomprehensible to an adult reader, but which perfectly satisfies their understanding of things. The illustrations are fun and perfectly capture the personality of all the characters.

 

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

 

“What’s for breakfast,” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

 

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

 

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

 

I give it 4 of 5 stars



 

Modern vernacular: The term woozle effect: frequent citation of weakly or unsupported publications causing a widely held, but mistaken public belief; is derived from “Chapter Three in which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle”.


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4 comments:

  1. Oh, I love Winnie the Pooh and Co too, and read and reviewed the collection last year. The little gang are every bit as lovely and innocent as you say. This time around, I found myself intrigued by the archetypes/recognisable personalities among them. Eeyore with possible clinical depression, Rabbit the busy body, Owl the know-it-all, Tigger the hyperactive and Piglet the fearful. Pooh Bear himself, with his stolid, slow, creative life, really stood out as a hero.

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    1. It's a delight. I'm on to The House at Pooh Corner now, thankful that Tigger has made an appearance. I'll check out your reviews once I'm done. TTFN

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  2. I love the Pooh books but didn't get around to reading them until I had children of my own. I went on to books for adults far too early and have read a lot of children's classics as an adult for that reason. It has been fun though.

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    1. Yes, I had a similar reading journey. Fun to go back now and see what we missed. :)

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