Jamie's Reviews > Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
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Mar 04, 2009

it was amazing
Read in March, 2009

As thirty draws nearer and nearer, things which remind me of my mother (now that there are a good five states between us) have become nostalgic and dear. I found a copy of Winnie the Pooh at a used dollar bookstore in Glendale. Had it not been the exact red, cloth hardcover I had on my shelves in a set as a child, I might have passed it by--but as it was, without Now We are Six and The House at Pooh Corner to flank it, it looked lonely.
It wasn't until this weekend I picked it up and began to read it--out loud, in true "my mom" form, to Moses, while he listened with half and ear. I read until it became slightly uncomfortable, which, again, is a trait of my mother's, who to this day will read to me long distance. She'll read anything: content isn't a deciding factor, and she'll read at length, even if I've read it, even if I GAVE it to her.
My mother's an avid A.A. Milne fan. In fact, she is so fervent a Pooh junkie, I grew up with an automatic out for dishes: if I could recite and entire poem all the way through, I was dish-free. "Our teddy bear is short and fat, which is not to be wondered at..." My older brother, Christopher, is, of course, named after Pooh's owner and Milne's timeless, fictionalized version of his boy, Christopher Robin Milne, and my own name, too, is loosely borrowed from a Milne work in Now We are Six (James, James, Morrison, Morrison, Weatherby George DuPris, took good care of his mother, though he was only three.)
I've always though the connections were cute and very sweet--my brother, as a toddler and six year-old DID look like Christopher Robbin, in his sketchy Chapell drawings, complete with sandals, page boy and gingham. However, the most truly magical aspect of reading Milne's work an adult, was the symbiotic nature of my mother and Milne. After years and years of loving him, it would seem my mother has...begun to THINK like him. Or perhaps she always did--the introduction alone, two pages in, had Moses and me laughing at the random thoughts, Pooh's absent minded nature and the narrator, above all, who, remarkably, has the same understated wit as Ron Howard in Arrested Development.
Moses and I postponed our errands and plans until we'd gotten all the way to Rabbit's house. Pooh sticks his head in the hole and, upon hearing rustling, asks if anyone is home. Rabbit calls out no, and at first Pooh accepts this, but after a few moments thought he realizes it's got to be Rabbit, or SOMEONE must be there, to say their not home--right?
My mother aside, this book is wonderful. Really it is. Winnie the Pooh has become such a deep rooted part of our culture, the existence of Disney's Pooh so usual I'm usually as likely to ponder it as I would a stop sign--it's just THERE. But, upon re-reading, I found myself truly excited by it. THIS is what children should be read before bed--books so silly and nonsensical yet intelligent and sound at the same time, their brains can do nothing but tie them selves into knots and lead them off to sleep. These books, despite the cuteness of Sandra Boyton, are the stuff of bright, thoughtful children who can play with words and rhymes, the kids who can play alone and turn a back yard into a forest.
Pooh and his tales are the map of the very full life of a healthy six year-old, before television and video games, before choose your own adventures, when you had to think up the adventure yourself, from beginning to end and you were climbing a tree while you were thinking.
To read this book made one remember how much I like my mother, and also how much I would like her as a person I met on the street--this book was a reminder that finding a good book and passing it on is one of the greatest things in the world: absolutely perfect for Goodreads. For those of you that DIDN'T grow up with a Milne groupie for a mom, get this book. It's the stuff of smart, independent kids!
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