Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

POINTS: 4 out of 10.

Bechdel:  0 point
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 2 point

I hadn’t actually realised how long the original Winnie-the-Pooh book is. It took us a while to get through together, but every story was familiar to me – as if, despite never having read it cover to cover, I had kind of osmosed the stories simply by living in the world.

There’s a lot to commend them. Obviously a big reason why they’re so well known now is that Disney got its paws on the stories. But there is something amazingly timeless about these stories, and, in some cases, quite progressive. It doesn’t pass Bechdel, since there is only one female character (Kanga) who is very much the quintessential ‘mom’ figure. But even as a mother, she has a fairly wicked sense of humour (as evidenced by the story in which Piglet sneaks into her pouch in place of Roo, and she pretends she simply hasn’t noticed, forcing Piglet to have a bath he really doesn’t want to take).

I’ve never been much of a fan of Eeyore, but I have to love how the characters simply carry on treating him as one of their own despite his self-pity, and passive aggression. There’s a lesson there about empathy and kindness that is sorely needed in the world. 🙂

As far as this project goes, it’s not that high scoring – there is no real diversity – but the overriding message of kindness is still very relevant, and the timelessness of the stories is pretty wonderful. I’ve never really watched the Disney versions with great attention, so I can’t speak to how true to the original texts they are. But the book itself is still charming as hell, ninety years after it was originally published, which, frankly, is no small feat. There is something about the ‘world of a child’ that makes it universal and still very relatable, even after all those years.

So, yes, well worth getting your hands on the original text and reading these stories with your kids. 🙂

What do you think? Are you a fan of the Poohniverse? (Sorry! I couldn’t help myself) How do you think the Disney versions compare?

 

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One thought on “Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

  1. I’ve always had some affection for AA Milne (especially the poetry for kids) but it’s a matter of family legend that my maternal Grandma *loathed him with a passion* because she thought he “talked down to children” – so we never had any of the Pooh books in the house.

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