I’ve been reading The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne to my infant son. I can’t determine what he thinks of them — I read while he kicks and rolls around the floor — but I truly enjoy reading them.
The Complete Tales includes the story books, Winnie-the-Pooh and The House on Pooh Corner, and two books of poetry, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. I don’t love the poems — I feel like A.A. Milne’s poetry is a bit forced. I admit, though, that there are some classic and clever poems, and the more of Milne’s poetry I read, the more I like it. Favorite poems: “Teddy Bear” in When We Were Very Young and “Sneezles” and “The End” in Now We Are Six. (I still prefer the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson.)
However, I love the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Each chapter in the novels is a self-contained story, and while we sometimes don’t get through the entire chapter in one session of reading/kicking-around- on-the-floor, each chapter is a really good length for reading out loud. Someday, he’ll look at the illustrations as I read. These illustrations are, of course, classic.
We finished Winnie-the-Pooh and now we are almost finished with The House at Pooh Corner. We have just one more chapter, “Chapter Ten: In Which Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place, and We Leave Them There.” I am horribly sad because I know what comes: Christopher Robin says good-bye as he leaves for school. How sad it is that childhood must end, that doing nothing must end!
Is anyone aware of another classic novel for children, in which each chapter is a self-contained adventure and the characters are creative, timeless, and delightful? I realize I can keep reading Winnie-the-Pooh to my son (he won’t remember anyway), but I wish there were other similar adventures to read next. I miss Pooh already!.
A Word on Disney
Unfortunately, my first exposure to Winnie the Pooh was from Disney. I say unfortunately because, while I love the movie, it’s a “different delightful.”
I enjoy the movie (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). I think it is great fun, and I look forward to introducing my son to that Pooh Bear too. However, I’m very disappointed now that I’ve read the books. I think the Winnie-the-Pooh created by A.A. Milne is a great character. Disney made Pooh into a bear that is always a Bear of Very Little Brain. In the stories, Pooh is a poetry-reciting, trying-hard-to-think Bear of Very Little Brain. In the stories, he has some adventures where he actually thinks. It’s amazing when he comes up with the ideas, but he does on occasion. I like both Winnie-the-Poohs, but I especially like the one I’m reading about. It’s too bad Disney felt the need to change the character, even slightly.
For you, are Disney movies, in general, “a different delightful”? Or do they “ruin” your favorite stories? (Note that I haven’t seen any Winnie the Pooh movies other than the first one, and I was only disappointed after I read Milne.)
Edited July 2008: I originally wrote this post in February 2008 (when my son was four and a half months old) and posted it on a different blog. I’ve rewritten it for this blog. I haven’t reread Winnie-the-Pooh since I wrote this (my son is almost ten-months-old and no longer stays quiet enough to get through more than a few pages of even a board book) but I still am looking forward to introducing him to Milne’s Pooh!