Title: The House at CornerThe-House-at-Pooh-Corner
Author: A. A. Milne
Pages: 180
Recommended Ages: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Although I loved the Winnie the Pooh Bear character when I was little, this is the first time that I have read any of the original A. A. Milne stories.

I was delighted. The stories are truly British – “they all laughed very merrily indeed” – and have the sweetest style. The House at Pooh Corner is a collection of many different stories which I cannot outline here. Instead I will include a few of my favorite quotes.

This after the Pooh Bear hears a strange noise outside his door.

“What can it be?” he thought. “There are lots of noises in the Forest, but this is a different one. It isn’t a growl, and it isn’t a purr, and it isn’t a bark, and it isn’t the noise-you-make-before-beginning-a-piece-of-poetry, but it’s a noise of some kind, made by a strange animal. And he’s making it outside my door. So I shall get up and ask him not to do it.”

He got out of bed and opened his front door.

“Hallo!” said Pooh, in case there was anything outside.

“Hallo!” said Whatever-it-was.

“Oh!” said Pooh. “Hallo!”

“Hallo!”

“Oh, there you are!” said Pooh. “Hallo!”

“Hallo!” said the Strange Animal, wondering how long this was going on.

Pooh was just going to say “Hallo” for the fourth time when he thought that he wouldn’t, so he said: “Who is it?” instead.

“Me,” said a voice.

“Oh!” said Pooh. “Well, come here.” [pgs. 22-23]

This one is super-cute.

“Look, Pooh!” said Piglet suddenly. “There’s something in one of the Pine Trees.”

“So there is!” said Pooh, looking up wonderingly. “There’s an Animal.”

Piglet took Pooh’s arm, in case Pooh was frightened.

“Is it One of the Fiercer Animals?” he said, looking the other way.

Pooh nodded.

“It’s a Jagular,” he said.

“What do Jagulars do?” asked Piglet, hoping that they wouldn’t.

“They hide in the branches of trees, and drop on you as you go underneath,” said Pooh. “Christopher Robin told me.”

“Perhaps we better hadn’t go underneath, Pooh. In case he dropped and hurt himself.”

“They don’t hurt themselves, “ said Pooh. “They’re such very good droppers.”

Piglet still felt that to be underneath a Very Good Dropper would be a Mistake, and he was just going to hurry back for something which he had forgotten when the Jagular called out to them.

“Help! Help!” it called.

“That’s what Jagulars always do,” said Pooh, much interested. “They call ‘Help! Help!” and then when you look up, they drop on you.”

“I’m looking down,” cried Piglet loudly, so as the Jagular shouldn’t do the wrong thing by accident.

Something very excited next to the Jagular heard him, and squeaked:

“Pooh and Piglet! Pooh and Piglet!”

All of a sudden Piglet felt that it was a much nicer day than he had thought it was. All warm and sunny –

“Pooh!” he cried. “I believe it’s Tigger and Roo!”

“So it is,” said Pooh. “I thought it was a Jagular and another Jagular.” [pgs. 65-67]

D’aww… Just one more, guys. This one occurs just after Pooh and Piglet meet Tigger.

“Pooh and Piglet walked slowly after him. And as they walked Piglet said nothing, because he couldn’t think of anything, and Pooh said nothing, because he was thinking of a poem. And when he had thought of it he began:

What shall we do about poor little Tigger?
If he never eats nothing he’ll never get bigger.
He doesn’t like honey and haycorns and thistles
Because of the taste and because of the bristles.
And all the good things which an animal likes
Have the wrong sort of swallow or too many spikes.

“He’s quite big enough anyhow,” said Piglet.

“He isn’t really very big.”

“Well, he seems so.”

Pooh was thoughtful when he heard this, and then he murmured to himself:

But whatever his weight in pounds, shillings, and ounces,
He always seems bigger because of his bounce.

“And that’s the whole poem,” he said. “Do you like it, Piglet?”

“All except the shillings,” said Piglet. “I don’t think they ought to be there.”

“They wanted to come in after the pounds,” explained Pooh, “so I let them. It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come.”

“Oh, I didn’t know,” said Piglet. [pgs. 32-33]

Piglet and Pooh are just the cutest together!

Cautions.

The entire setting of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories is imaginary. The animals live in the ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ where they interact mostly with one another and occasionally with Christopher Robin, their owner. On the last page, after Christopher Robin has basically told Pooh Bear good-bye, A. A. Milne writes,

But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” [pg. 180]

There were occasional moments when Roo did not quite obey Kanga, or when one of the forest animals would boast, but these were not often.

Conclusion. A super-cute, innocent set of stories, The House at Pooh Corner will delight readers of all ages. While I have marked the recommended ages as ‘9-12’, this was based purely on the reading difficulty – The House at Pooh Corner would also make an excellent read-aloud for younger children.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *