Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Number of pages: 161
The Pooh books are a father’s gift to his
son, Christopher Robin. Written for a child, they reflect the
concerns, the games, and the guidance of an ongoing early
childhood. Though he was a professional writer, the elder Mr.
Milne was not, until he began writing about Pooh, a children’s
In the course of two multi-chapter books,
Christopher Robin and his boy animals, have one adventure
after another —everything from filching honey from the angry
bees to welcoming Tigger (a very bouncy animal), consoling
Eeyore (the gloomy donkey), enduring a flood, and seeking out
the South Pole. Everything is related in extremely childish
(but by no means "cutesy" terms), including bursts of poetry,
rudimentary logic, and a great deal of remarkably in-depth
character study. Each animal has a district personality:
impulsive Tigger, neurotic Eeyore, no-nonsense Kanga,
self-important Rabbit and Owl, humble Piglet, and, of course,
direct and simple Pooh. The animals might be any group of
typical siblings or playmates and teach, through their
adventures, many real life lessons.
- The story reflects a good understanding of the way
children think and play.
- Young children are gently guided into a rich world of
child-sized experiences, observing cause and effect and
non-magical solutions to problems which are play versions of
situations they will encounter in real life.
- Desirable character traits are encouraged and
undesirable ones are shown as silly.
- The book encourages active creativity on the part of the
- Real virtues are taught —especially charity and
- At least some of the humor in these books is aimed over
the children’s heads, appealing rather to the adult who
reads the book aloud.
- No religion is taught here. These are works of
unbaptised imagination, written under the assumption (common
in the author’s society and time) that matters of faith are
too difficult for children.
- Very little mention is made of family life. Christopher
Robin is an only child and is, himself, the "parent" to the
animals. This can be very amusing as he solves problems with
the mind of a young child, but obviously, nothing of real
family life can be taught.
- The Pooh books have been taken over by Disney Studios
and presented in both cartoons and picture books,
illustrated in a flashy and cheapening way. These should be
avoided in order not to spoil the real thing for our
The Pooh books are very good books indeed,
enjoyable to both children and those adults who have outgrown
the need to "prove themselves" by rejecting all simple
things. Pooh goes down best if read aloud and can be enriched
with explanations. It can be used in first through third