Friday, August 8, 2014

My Thoughts on Winnie the Pooh

When I was a little girl, Winnie the Pooh was well known and still is today. What makes such a great children's book? I have much to learn. I found these two books at an antique store in Guthrie, OK. I was so excited to read a children's classic. I'd seen Winnie the Pooh on television and read some books, but never the original. My first look inside the cover revealed that the initial copyrights were in 1926 and 1928. They were published in New York by E.P. Dutton and Co. The copies I have were reprinted in 1961. These are older than I am! It was fun to see the different writing styles and language from then until now.  For instance, now we say 'illustrated by...' These say "Decorated by Ernest H. Shepard." Everything we are taught about writing for children nowadays says to show and not tell. There is a lot of telling in Winnie the Pooh. There are also random words capitalized in the middle of sentences. I can't find any rhyme or reason for the capitalization. I know things change over time and I am struggling with changes in grammar rules just from my high school days.

The author A.A. Milne was an English writer (primarily a playwright) with one son named Christopher Robin Milne. He wrote the Winnie the Pooh books and the characters were based on the stuffed animals that Christopher Robin owned with the exception of Rabbit and Owl who were added by Mr. Milne. The stuffed animals are now on display in New York City.

A.A. Milne's quotes (of course, said by the characters) are some of the most touching words I've ever known. I can't read them without tearing up and turning into a blubbering idiot. Read them for yourself...     

While reading the first book, I found some scribbles on two pages. I wondered about the child that used the purple marker. Was it a little boy or a little girl? Was it in the 1960's? Were they crouched on the rug in the living room in front of the television with jeans and sneakers. Did they get scolded for marking in the book? Where is this person now? How did these books end up at the antique store? I know my mind is a mysterious thing and when it gets going, the scenarios are endless. 

What did I get from these books? Wonderful memories that I had forgotten. I couldn't read what the characters were saying without hearing their voices in my head. Pooh saying, "Oh, bother!" and "Hunny!" Christopher Robin, "Tut tut! Looks like rain!"  And Eeyore with his constant dreary attitude.  And then I remembered the song from the Disney movie and have it on constant repeat in my brain. "Deep in the hundred acre wood, where Christopher Robin plays, you'll find the enchanted neighborhood of Chrisopher's childhood days. A donkey named Eeyore is his friend, and Kanga and little Roo. There's Rabbit, there's Piglet and there's Owl, but most of all Winnie the Pooh! Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff. He's Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, willy, nilly, silly ole bear!

And at the end, here's where the tears come when Pooh and Christopher Robin are talking...
"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred." 
Pooh thought for a little. "How old shall I be then?" 
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said. 

I can't imagine a childhood without Winnie the Pooh. He will  live in the hearts of children (young and old) forever.

And finally, here's Kenny Loggins to complete the Pooh praise:

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