Description from the Pooh Corner website
Contents – 10 Stories In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole In Which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water In Which Christopher Robin Gives a Pooh Party, and We Say Goodbye.
I had meant to read Winnie the Pooh for a long time. He was one of my favourite characters when I was a child, though I only knew the tv show back then. Still, somehow, I kept postpone it, until last year I decided to enter a reading challenge to read novels written in the 1920s.
The first novel of Winnie the Pooh was written in 1922, and so here I am!
And you know? I loved it.
It is an adorable book.
And yes, it is definitely written for children, but it is enjoyable also for adults, and I’m not sure it is for different reasons. I for one, can say that I loved it for the same reason I loved it as a child: its nonsense. I loved the strange logic – which is in some way still logic – on which these characters work. I loved the simple plots that sometimes are just fun (like the hunt for Heffalump), some other times have feelings at their heart (I loved the chapter about Eeyore’s birthday, which really moved me). And it’s strange how the simplicity of the plot seems to add to the story rather than to take away.
It reminds me a lot of Tolkien’s Letter from Father Christmas (and I should review that too, now that I think about it), which also tells little stories, quite straight forward and full of nonsense and fun and wit (Tolkien’s first letter to his children as Father Christmas was in 1920).
A.A. Milne and JRR Tolkien were both WWI veterans. I wonder whether this has anything to do with the way they told stories for children. Did their use of nonsense in a positive way have anything to do with the senseless things they sure saw in the battlefields? Did the hunt for a simpler way of life have anything to do with coming to terms with a world that was changing so fast? Was talking directly to children in a ‘child-like’ way a means to seek meaning in their adult life?
I might be seeing too much, but these are indeed characteristics that both works share. So I do wonder.
Winnie the Pooh
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.
When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, ‘But I thought he was a boy?’
‘So did I,’ said Christopher Robin.
‘Then you can’t call him Winnie?’
‘But you said –’
‘He’s Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don’t you know what “ther” means?’
‘Ah, yes, now I do,’ I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.
Sometimes Winnie-the-Pooh likes a game of some sort when he comes downstairs, and sometimes he likes to sit quietly in front of the fire and listen to a story.
The Thursday Quotables was originally a weekly post created by Lisa Wolf for her book blog Bookshelf Fantasy. It isn’t a weekly post anymore, not even for Lisa, but just like her, I still love to share my favourite reads on Thursday and I still use the original template which included an excerpt.