I am an unashamed Winnie the Pooh fan. I guess, strictly speaking, I am a A A Milne fan rather than just a Winnie the Pooh fan as I love the poems as much as the stories. I think it must be genetic as my mother also loved them. So much so, that at her funeral my sister read an AA Milne poem – Wherever I am there’s always Pooh, there’s always Pooh and me . . .
I remember learning Forgiven to earn my entertainers badge when I was a Brownie. I still know most of it – along with King John’s Christmas, The King’s Breakfast, Rice Pudding, Sneezles, Vespers and Disobedience. David shares my delight in all things Milne and 15 years ago directed a production of Winnie the Pooh for our local theatre. Our second son (who was 6) played the ‘real’ Christopher Robin while we had an older boy play Christopher Robin in the stories. I played Kanga.
Imagine my delight when I saw Return to the Hundred Acre Wood in a book shop. It looked like the real thing, was ‘an authorised sequel’ and had illustrations that looked like the original E H Shepard ones. I sampled a few pages and was convinced enough to request it for my birthday. So, on Sunday, I duly settled down in a sunny spot for a couple of hours escape. I enjoyed it tremendously but found it, on the whole, a little unsatisfying. The illustrations were spot-on, the characters were the same as the ones I had come to know and love (with one addition) but the stories lacked something. I have been mulling it over for several days now trying to work it out and I still haven’t entirely got the answer but it seems to me that the stories in this new book stop rather than ending. They are also quite unmemorable whereas who could forget Eeyore’s Birthday or the Heffalump or Pooh’s quest to get honey? It might be because I have read them so many times that the original stories are so clear in my mind, but I don’t think so. This book will takes its place in my bookcase alongside the 4 original Milne’s but I suspect it won’t be taken down nearly so often.