I never read Winnie-the-Pooh as a child. I watched many of the movies – all modern in shape and color – but had never been exposed to the cute, old-timey Pooh. But having read a few of his stories now, I must say that I prefer the written Pooh much more than the cartoon Pooh.
Or rather, the stories. As the title said, this is ‘Three Stories from Winnie the Pooh’.
1) Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place. It goes like this: Winnie-the-Pooh bear (or just Pooh for short) was strolling through the forest humming ‘tra-la-la, rum-tum-tiddle’ to himself and thinking what a fine thing it was to know how to hum, when he came across a hole in the ground. Upon stopping to reflect, he decided that a hole in the groung meant that Rabbit was Near At Hand, and that if Rabbit was Near At Hand, then lunch was, too. So he invited himself in. But it was Rabbit who actually invited him to lunch, don’t you understand, and of course, Pooh couldn’t be rude and refuse Rabbit’s generosity. He accepted it; you might almost say indulged in it. For, by the time Pooh was ready to leave Rabbit’s house, he had emptied all of the dishes and, I am sorry to say, was quite too large to fit through the front door. But being a shy bear, he didn’t like to say so, so instead he shoved and pushed and shoved some more, and then he was….. Stuck! It’s up to Rabbit and Christopher Robin to extricate Pooh bear from this horrid, sticky mess!
2) Piglet Meets a Heffalump. One day, Cristopher Robin and Piglet and Pooh Bear are having a Very Casual talk together, when Christopher Robin Very Casually mentions that he saw a Heffalump today. Although he conceals his plans before Christopher Robin, Pooh later reveals to Piglet his plans for catching a Heffalump himself. Here’s how it works: Pooh and Piglet will dig a Cunning Heffalump Trap and put a Jar of Honey at the bottom. Pooh is certain that it will do the trick, and Piglet is certain that Pooh knows what he’s doing. So they dig and rig the trap. But come morning, does Piglet have the bravery needed to check the Cunning Heffalump Trap?
3) Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents. Eeyore, the old grey donkey, is in some distress. It is his birthday, which should be a Joyous Occasion, a time for Song-and-Dance, a time when he gets Presents and an Iced Birthday Cake. But what has he gotten? Nothing. By the time Pooh Bear teedle-tums around, Eeyore has worked himself quite blue and he complains sharply to Pooh. Pooh is scandalized to hear that today is Eeyore’s birthday – nobody told him! – and rushed off to find Piglet and to prepare a present for Eeyore. But will Pooh and his friends be able to scrape together a real, proper Joyous Occasion for Eeyore?
Winnie-the-Pooh has the cutest, bump-along-happily-down-the-lane style that I’ve found in children’s books. Since I have already praised Milne’s talent in my review of The House at Pooh Corner I will not go into raptures again, only offer a cute quote.
Outside his house Pooh found Piglet, jumping up and down trying to reach the knocker.
“Hallo, Piglet,” he said.
“Hallo, Pooh,” said Piglet.
“What are you trying to do?”
“I was trying to reach the knocker,” said Piglet. “I just came round –“
“Let me do it for you,” said Pooh kindly. So he reached up and knocked at the door. “I have just seen Eeyore,” he began, “and poor Eeyore is in a Very Sad Condition, because it’s his birthday, and nobody has taken any notice of it, and he’s very Gloomy – you know what Eeyore is – and there he was, and – What a long time whoever lives here is answering this door.” And he knocked again.
“But Pooh,” said Piglet, “it’s your own house!”
“Oh!” said Pooh. “So it is,” he said. “Well, let’s go in.” [pg. 48-49]
I have no cautions other than that Winnie-the-Pooh’s world is a fantastical one – he and all of his friends are stuffed animals who are owned by Christopher Robin. They talk with Christopher Robin, but no magic (etc.) is practiced.
Conclusion. Super-cute stories which provide sweet reading material.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret