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When We Were Very Young (Winnie-the-Pooh #3)

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,481 Ratings  ·  286 Reviews
Verses full of bubbling nonsense and rhythm, written for the author's son, Christopher Robin. It is for "very small children (and for their elders who get a surreptitious joy from what is meant for their little ones)."" -- Sunday Review, 1924
Hardcover, 100 pages
Published October 31st 1988 by E.P. Dutton (first published 1924)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nandakishore Varma
May 28, 2015 Nandakishore Varma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Childhood is a beautiful country, one which I was loath to leave but had to, all the same. It is the inevitable tragedy of the human condition. But writers have the magic in their pens, using which they can take us back to that hallowed place. This is one thing that A. A. Milne does wonderfully well. No wonder his books for children have outlived his more "serious" works.

Reading these poems, I could visit Christopher Robin's pre-school world of late mornings, drowsy afternoons and exciting days
For people who missed Private Eye's obituary poem a couple of decades ago:
Seventy-seven, shorn of his locks
Christopher Robin beds down in a box
No need to whisper, we've got past that stage
Christopher Robin has died of old age
Saoirse Sterling
I've never read any Winnie-the-Pooh books but am extremely aware of what it's about. These are poems from the same author and they are extremely hit-and-miss, but those that hit are utterly wonderful.

Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, the poems centre around young people who are in charge of their own lives and worlds. They are whimsical and very Carroll-esque in their magical and lyrical prowess. Some are droll, however, but most are nice.
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 20, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, poetry
When We Were Young by A. A. Milne is composed of endearing 44 poems for children. Some of these poems I thought I heard when I was a young boy in the Pacific island. But at that time, I neither had knowledge of who A. A. Milne was nor I did have any interest on English poems. What I and my friends were singing were local poems like the very funny ”Tong-tong-tong paketong-ketong/ Alimango sa dagat…” or the funnier ”Lumakad sya sa tubig, ang paa ay nabasa… Nguni’t ang kanyang *beep-beep* ay hindi ...more
Susan Howson
Jun 24, 2007 Susan Howson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Also know this one by heart. My poor future kids are going to have A. A. Milne rammed down their throats. "Can I please have some dinner?" "REPEAT 'JAMES JAMES MORRISON MORRISON'!!!"
Apr 06, 2009 Qt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Utterly charming and lovely--delightful rhythm, fun rhymes, and illustrations that fit it perfectly! This was my first introduction to A.A. Milne.
Jan 11, 2013 Devina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children, young and old.
What a delightful little poetry book! I came across this by chance in the school’s old library a few days ago. I grew up with Winnie The Pooh, though I don’t see Disney rerunning any of the old episodes except only the occasional full length movie, it’s sad really.

Until lately I was unaware that the tales were originally written for Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who had inspired them. Now if a father who had devoted writing little books of bouncing tigers and bossy rabbits and the likes for hi
May 04, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! I used to love reading this book with my Mum and Dad. Inside is one of my favorite poems of all time...

'Halfway Down'

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
i'm not at the bottom,
i'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
It's somewhere else
Book Concierge
Illustrated by Ernest H Shepard

This was Milne’s first book for children, originally published in 1924. He was inspired by his young son, Christopher Robin, and the verses are sometimes silly, sometimes touching, and always enjoyable. Shepard’s illustrations are a perfect accompaniment, chronicling Christopher’s interactions with shopkeepers, nanny, horses, rabbits, and one particularly stout bear.

I was particularly delighted to read this poem on a snowy March day …
She wore her yell
I’m not sure if any other writer quite captures the lyrical simplicity and self-seriousness of a child like A.A. Milne. His use of language is beyond that which most “adult” writers possess, utilizing sparse, elegant verse and paying close attention to the subtle nuances of sound. His subjects are perfect, as well! He clearly remembered being and child and was sympathetic to children. He did not don a pair of rose-colored glasses or talk down to his little readers, but rather he expressed all of ...more
Mar 02, 2008 Allycks rated it it was amazing
A top notch book of children's poetry with excellent illustrations. Milne perfectly grasped the child's point-of-view, and "When We Were Very Young" delivers exactly the right tone of simplicity and wonder. My kids love it and ask for it again and again. It works without ever getting too syrupy sweet, and without the hidden messages that become so painfully obvious in other children's books. I think the reason that children and adults and nostalgic twenty-somethings love these poems is that they ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Childish - and I mean it as a compliment. The poems can draw you into children's world - in which imagination is in full spring, the time slow, and everything is interesting.

P.S. You just can't tear yourself away from those illustrations.
Dec 08, 2010 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Milne, A.A. When We Were Very Young (1924)
As books begin to show their age, some are best weeded and forgotten, but others are meant to be preserved and cherished. When We Were VeryYoung is one of those books to be cherished. It was originally published in 1924 and is still popular today. It contains childhood poems of a bygone age and culture (after all, what child now-a days has a nurse or goes to the market square with a six pence to buy a rabbit) and, like Mother Goose, the poems don’t alway
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
There are some poems in here that I enjoyed. Admittedly one of them, "Disobedience," is mainly because of its association with Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy. But "Politeness" and "Daffydowndillies" are excellent. "Vespers" I have a soft spot for, but mainly because of its association with The Last Hot Time. (Having identified something as the probable source of a reference in something else always gives me a pleased-with-myself feeling.) "The Wrong House" is not without its charms. "The F ...more
Precious. Only a few of the poems were really funny and had a good flow, I feel. There rest were too short or disjointed. It wasn't awful, but I feel that it relies heavily on sentiment. I know for myself that I never would have picked it up had it not been written by A.A. Milne. It was a quick, easy read, but it was "just ok".
Jesse Whitehead
Jan 16, 2012 Jesse Whitehead rated it it was amazing
My experience with A. A. Milne is somewhat backward from most people, I think. I first encountered him with his poem “The Knight Who’s Armor Didn’t Squeak”. Years later I learned about Winnie the Pooh.

His understanding of the way little children think and behave makes it obvious that he spent a great deal of time with his own child, observing his behavior.

This is a collection of his poetry about being young and experiencing the world and it is absolutely brilliant. It will only take about half a
Mar 18, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
An adorable collection of poetry verses for kids of all ages! Also loved the cute illustrations.
Jul 06, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poems
The date I finished this book is an estimate based on the stairs I see in my mind's eye when I read the poem Halfway Down. Over 60 years after my mother read me these poems, I find I can still recite some of them from memory. I will be giving the copy I just bought to my grandson for his 3rd birthday. Will it still resonate with little ones or was it so special for me because my mother enjoyed it so much?
Sep 29, 2015 Jody rated it liked it
I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy these as much as I'd hoped. A.A. Milne is certainly the master of whimsy & capturing childhood, and I find everything that I read by him feels like being wrapped in a huge blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. But these poems were very hit and miss for me - many of them lacked the necessary flow for reading aloud, and felt rushed & somehow unfinished.

My daughter & I had just finished The House at Pooh Corner, and were so excited to read the next in
Lizzie Chapman
Apr 29, 2016 Lizzie Chapman rated it really liked it
A lovely way in to poetry for young children. Really enjoyed reading these with mine - many of the poems had us in stitches, many of them evoked nostalgic memories of my own childhood and quite a few left my children looking at me blankly, expecting an explanation that I couldn't give (apart from adding my own 'huh??')! A. A. Milne certainly makes poetry fun to read, even if you don't understand it all!
Jun 29, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
There was a beauty in this book that I don't remember sensing in any other children's book. The author caught the essence of childhood: its innocence, wonder, and delight in the smallest of things. All of the things we adults have long forgotten, I felt in some measure again while reading this book. It caught me quite by surprise.

I didn't enjoy every poem in the book, but it's still a book I'd recommend. Snuggle with your children and read this together. If you don't have children, this book is
Feb 12, 2015 Emilysa rated it really liked it
Shelves: little-favorite
This book has been in the house my entire life. Now it is read.
Jul 30, 2011 Phillip rated it it was amazing
These time tested and enchanting poems revolve around the world of a very young Christopher Robin as he meditates on the nature of, among other things, chairs and stairs and squares and prayers. They also brush up against some of the adventures of Edward Bear (aka Winnie the Pooh) Then there are those poems that take pause to consider the world around said boy and bear, sometimes waxing whimsical and other times moving towards the meditative. This collection provides a fine mix of verse to graze ...more
Joelle Karlitz
Title: When We Were Very Young
Author: A.A. Milne
Illustrator: E.H Shepard
Genre: Poetry
Theme (s): Family, Loyalty, Imagination
Opening Line/Sentence:
Brief Book Summary: The book’s introduction is named, “Just Before We Begin,” which helps children use their imagination to try and discover who the narrator is. The narrator is Christopher Robin. Throughout this poem, it describes the friendships that the characters have with one another while helping children be creative.
Professional Recommendati
Absolūti fantastiski apburoša grāmata!
Mīļi, smieklīgi, jauki un asprātīgi dzejoļi bērniem un pieaugušajiem.
Piemēram, šis ideāli sanāktu Golluma balsī:
The Three Foxes
Once upon a time there were three little foxes
Who didn’t wear stockings, and they didn’t wear sockses,
But they all had handkerchiefs to blow their noses,
And they kept their handkerchiefs in cardboard boxes.

And they lived in forest in three little houses,
And they didn’t wear coats, and they didn’t wear trousies.
They ran through the wo
May 11, 2015 Poiema rated it it was amazing
If I could only choose a couple of childrens'poetry books to have in my library,this would be one. One never outgrows Pooh! The words slip and slide and romp and rhyme as though in a verbal playground. My favorite: "Halfway Down." I can still say it by memory even though my kids are grown! This would be a great little volume to give to a new Mom, preferably a beautiful hard copy that can endure the repeated usage it is sure to garner.
Michael Jones
I just can't overstate how great this is to be read on a routine basis! Children under 10 (at least my kids) will enjoy listening to the same poems 1000 times! I get better and better at reading them in a meter that's humorous.

I really think this is some of the best poetry EVER for young children! Read it to them with a good sense of rhythm and meter and you just can't beat it. Funny, edifying and bonding with your children.
Mike Jensen
Enjoyable trifles by A. A. Milne. The Milne cult will be offended that these brief and mostly pointless poems receive just three stars, but honestly, they have little to offer besides a certain charm of expression, and that charm is repeated throughout until by the end it seems less charming than it did before. To compensate, the better poems, better as poetry, are at the end.
Chanita Zimmerman
Apr 01, 2014 Chanita Zimmerman rated it liked it
Shelves: poems
I enjoy reading this book. It flowed as if the poems told stories. I like the choice of pictures.

Line and Squares

Whenever I walk in a London street,
I'm ever so careful to watch my feet;
And I keep in the squares,
And the masses of bears,
Who wait at the corners all ready to eat
The sillies who tread on the lines of the street
Go back to their lairs,
And I say to them, "Bears,
Just look how I'm walking in all the squares!"

And the little bears growl to each other, "He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and st
Sharman Wilson
I loved this book of poems, along with Now We Are Six. When I was in 5th grade my teacher often let us recite from memory our own favorites--I nearly always chose one of the poems from these two books. I especially loved (and can still mostly remember) the one that starts James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #20- When We Were Very Young (poetry) 1 1 Feb 27, 2015 09:50AM  
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Alan Alexander Milne (pronounced /ˈmɪln/) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems.

A. A. Milne was born in Kilburn, London, to parents Vince Milne and Sarah Marie Milne (née Heginbotham) and grew up at Henley House School, 6/7 Mortimer Road (now Crescent), Kilburn, a small public school run by his father. One of his teac
More about A.A. Milne...

Other Books in the Series

Winnie-the-Pooh (4 books)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)
  • The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie-the-Pooh, #2)
  • Now We Are Six (Winnie-the-Pooh, #4)

Share This Book

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.”
“If people ask me,
I always tell them:
"Quite well, thank you, I'm very glad to say."
If people ask me,
I always answer,
"Quite well, thank you, how are you today?"
I always answer,
I always tell them,
If they ask me
I wish

That they wouldn't”
More quotes…