Sunday, July 18, 2010

July is Classic Book Month on TTLG - Day Eight

Winnie the Pooh is one of those children's book characters that both children and adults identify with. His sweet and unaffected ways, his honesty, and his dedication to his friends makes him the kind of character that many of us are happy to reconnect with when we can. Reading the Pooh stories has always given we the warm and comforting feeling that I get when I am in the company of a good friend.

A. A. Milne
Illustrator:  Ernest H. Shepard
For ages 5 and up
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0142404676
   Lets us hear a story. Christopher Robin has decided that the story he would like to hear should be one about his bear, "Winnie-ther-Pooh." Christopher thinks that Winnie would very much like to hear a story about himself, and so off we go, to the forest, where Winnie-the-Pooh lives.
   In the first story we are told, Pooh, who is very partial to food in general, and honey in particular, decides that he wants to climb a tree because there is a large bee hive at the top. Of course where there are bees there is honey and where there is honey there are Poohs. Pooh first tries climbing up the tree in the old fashioned way, but that turns out to be a painful exercise so he heads off to find Christopher Robin whom he hopes might have a solution to the problem. Sure enough, before long, Pooh is floating up next to the honey bee tree hanging from a large blue balloon. There still is a problem however, and this is that the bees, which are not unintelligent creatures, are beginning to get "suspicious."
   Poor Pooh. This is only the first of several rather uncomfortable adventures, for in the next tale we are told, the bear, who as I have said enjoys food, gets himself stuck in Rabbit's doorway. Pooh blames the size of the doorway, and Rabbit blames the size of Pooh. There is nothing to be done however, for Pooh is stuck tight. All he can do is listen to a "Sustaining Book such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness" and wait to get thinner.
What unfortunate bee trees encounter, getting stuck in doorways, chasing Woozles, catching Heffelumps and so much more, Pooh and the reader are kept thoroughly busy right up to the moment when Pooh and Christopher Robin have to go to bed.
   Deliciously funny and with a wonderful use of language and format, A. A. Milne's stories about this loveable bear will never lose their charm. Pooh and his friends speak a language all children will understand, and they make the kinds of mistakes they would understand too. At the same time, there can be do doubt that Pooh delights adults as well with his "hums" and songs, his talk of needing "a little something," and his obvious love and concern for his friends.
   Ernest Shepard's delightful illustrations perfectly capture the personalities of Pooh, Piglet, and their friends.

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