As one of the world’s most enduring and endearing storybook characters, Winnie-the-Pooh has delighted generations of children with his silly old bear ways. This delightful treasury of stories and poems has a wintry feel, but is also sure to bring a warm happy glow.
He may refer himself self-depricatingly as “a Bear of very little brain”, but Winnie-the-Pooh’s heart is invariably in the right place. A perfect playmate and companion to Christopher Robin, he’s also the leader of a gang of memorable characters, from the nervous and timid Piglet, to the rather pompous know-it all Owl, a bossy and crotchety Rabbit, a doleful Eeyore, and a gentle Kango and her exuberant little Roo.
Bringing together four memorable tales from Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, this collection is filled with delightfully snowy scenes and the seasonal mishaps that brings to the inhabitants of Hundred Acre Wood. The gold embossed cover also adds a luxuriant and festive feel, while the tales about these much-loved characters never fail to raise a smile.
With his portly gait perpetuated by his love of honey and his signature red jumper that looks like it has shrunk in the wash, Pooh cuts an undeniably winsome figure. His ponderings on life waiver between the preposterous and the philosophical as he reflects on friendship, loyalty – and honey
There are signs of Pooh’s endearing gullibility as he and Piglet take a tour round and round in the snow, working themselves up into a state of fright because they are being followed by a Woozle – or is it a Wizzle? – when in fact they are looking at their own footprints. Then there are times that his seemingly silly ideas, like turning Christopher Robin’s umbrella upside down and using it as a rescue vehicle, dubbed The Brain of Pooh, save the day – and poor Piglet from a very soggy fate.
Pooh is a thoughtful and compassionate friend, too, even if things don’t always go according to plan, as is demonstrated by his attempts to find Eeyore a new home – a commendable act, of course, but in doing so, he and Piglet actually dismantle the house that Eeyore has built for himself only to reconstruct it in a different location. But whenever things go wrong, he is always the first to chastise himself with a fretful “Oh bother.”
AA Milne’s words are perfectly pitched for a young audience who will giggle at Pooh’s sweet silliness as well as empathesize with the characters. It’s a wonderful way to expand your child’s vocabulary with wonderful words like ‘supercilious’, ‘solumn’ and ‘deluded’. Parents will equally delight in the characters’ childlike misunderstandings of the world around them, like Piglet talking about his grandfather ‘Trespassers W’, which he says stands for Trespassers William when those in the know will have a wry smile about it more likely origins.
The book is the perfect opportunity to revisit some of AA Milne’s wonderfully playful poems on everything from raindrops racing down the window pane to sneezles, to bedtime and playtime, filled with fun and nonsense and made-up words that Dr Seuss would approve of. There’s also the wonderful festive poem King John’s Christmas – a bah humbug of a fellow who finds happy redemption on Christmas day.
The stories and poems are delightfully illustrated “with decorations by EH Shepard”, the artist who brought Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh to life, with a mix of pencil sketches and full-colour drawings that evoke the sweet innocence of childhood.
This is the perfect book to snuggle up and enjoy on a cold winter’s day. And if we are lucky enough to have snowfall, you will have the perfect excuse to join Winnie-the-Pooh in his delightful Outdoor Song which Has To Be Sung In The Snow: The more it snows, tiddely-pom.
Wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh
And, just because we love them, and him, here’s a couple of our favourite quotes from the Ursine One:
- ‘It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”‘
- ‘People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.’
- ‘I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.’
Did you know? During World War I, Canadian lieutenant Harry Colebourn bought a black bear cub from a hunter for $20. Named Winnipeg – or “Winnie” for short – the bear became his troop’s mascot. Colebourn donated Winnie to London Zoo in 1915 where she became an adored attraction by visitors, including a young boy called Christopher Robin Milne, who named his own teddy after her Winnie.
Fun fact In 1960, Winnie-the-Pooh was translated into Latin, appearing as Winnie Ille Pu. Translated by Dr. Alexander Lenard, it stayed on the coveted New York Times Bestsellers list for 20 weeks, selling 125,000 copies. The adventures of the honey-loving bear have also been translated into more than 50 languages, including Afrikaans, Czech, Finnish, and Yiddish
** LOVE CLASSIC CHARACTERS? ** See how Peter Rabbit and Friends celebrate the festive season in the delightful Peter Rabbit’s Christmas Collection.
Author notes AA Milne was born in London in 1882. He began his writing with humorous pieces for Punch magazine. It was in this publication, in 1923, that Winnie-the-pooh made his first appearance with Teddy Bear. Milne also wrote plays and by the time When We Were Very Young, his first book of poems for children, was published in 1924, he has already made his name as a dramatist and novelist.
Illustrator notes Born in 1879, Ernest Howard Shepard became known as ‘the man who drew Pooh’, but he was also an acclaimed artist in his own right. Shepard won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Arts, and later, like Milne, worked for Punch magazine as a cartoonist and illustrator. Shepard’s illustrations of Winnie- the-Pooh and the friends of the Hundred Acre Wood have become classics in their own right and are recognised all over the world.