My Favourite Book - Winnie the Pooh

My Favourite Book - Winnie the Pooh

17 Feb 2021 - 13:23 BY Ann McNorvell

|nnette thought it would be rather fun - now we have discovered the joys of Zoom - to take advantage of it a little further. So she organisied and hosted three parties!  A Coffee Break, a Tea Party and a Cocktail Party.

 I was pleased to be able to join the Tea Party to speak about my favourite book, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and thought, if I tidied up my speaking notes, it might make a nice news article for the website.

So here goes:-

My Favourite Book is Winnie the Pooh (and its companion volume, the House at Pooh Corner) by A.A. Milne, first published in 1926 and 1928 respectively.

When Annette first proposed the topic I did think that I should go with ‘literature’.  Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice came out top here, having survived being studied at school using the dreaded ‘read around the class method, to the extent that I have re-read both for pleasure.  Not all books on the school list survived – especially Dickens.  (Incidentally, Annette’s choice of Silas Marner did survive.)

Then I considered the books that I re-read most often, and Winnie the Pooh came out top.  Sometimes I read it from end to end, sometimes I just dip in and out.

So what it the appeal of these children’s stories, written nearly 30 years before I was born, to the adult Ann, who has just reached pensionable age?

They are literate if not great literature.

They are the first stories I can remember being read to me and among the first I read to myself.  I still have my original volumes (plus the posh Folio editions and Kindle versions.)  Winnie the Pooh is the 1939 edition and belonged to my mum.  The House at Pooh Corner was a birthday present (late as usual from the inscription) from my aunt and godmother in the early 60s. 

There is certainly an element of taking comfort from remembering my childhood in my continuing enjoyment of these stories.  And reliving it – the adventures of Pooh and his friends in the Ashdown Forest are not far removed from my own relatively rural childhood in Surrey with expeditions to the river and campsites built in next doors orchard.

As an adult though, it is the personalities and enduring friendships among this very diverse group that I most appreciate

The starring role goes of course to Pooh himself – a simple bear, ‘of very little brain’, a little stout because of his fondness for honey and condensed milk, from his own supplies or those of his long suffering friends; curious about Woozles and Heffalumps and invariably kind.

I was never particularly fond of Christopher Robin as a child – who likes a boy who wears his wellingtons when it’s wet and carries an umbrella?  As a grown up I have warmed to his character, because he wears his wellingtons when it’s wet and carries an umbrella.

Piglet is on the surface timid but actually brave as he is always willing to try an adventure.  He is never excluded by his friends from future fun, even if he suddenly remembers an appointment and has to rush off home in the middle of a dangerous expedition.

Eyeore might today be defined as clinically depressed.  He’s certainly not the life and soul of the party but he too is included in adventures and his friends try to help him – by finding his missing tail, bringing him a (burst) balloon for his birthday and building him a house (from the materials of his existing house, but it’s the thought that counts).

Tigger is the extrovert, noisy and bouncy and a bit tiring. 

Owl is a bit of a know-it-all, inclined to pontificate

Kanga is mumsy and litle Roo is just a toddler. 

Rabbit is a bit of a busybody

But despite their differences, or perhaps because of them, they are always friends and always there for each other.

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