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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne 
25th-Jul-2006 09:28 pm
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My mother's favorite childhood books. Which, because her twin brother (whose nickname is Tigger, absconded with their copies), I'd never until this point actually read.

Milne, A. A. The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh. New York: Dutton, 2001.
-Winnie-the-Pooh- (1926)
Summary: With illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. Introducing Christopher Robin and his beloved Bear of Very Little Brain, Winnie-the-Pooh. This book introduces their friends Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, and Roo in a series of ten short stories that culminate in the "heroic" rescue of Piglet during a flood.
Comments: Though I've never actually read the original A. A. Milne books before, these stories were, thanks to general cultural osmosis and the Disney cartoon that used to be on on Saturday mornings mostly familiar to me. Of course, they are among the most beloved and well-recognized of characters from children's literature; adult readers may be surprised to discover that the all represent different English class stereotypes. Rabbit = middle class busybody. Eeyore = lower class bundle of negativity. Owl = pompous, educated well-to-do person. And so forth. The characters even evince a measure of xenophobia when Kanga and Roo arrive...but they get over it, of course, which is nice. Speaking of Kanga and Roo, I couldn't believe that they came before Tigger! (Never woulda thunk it.) Oh, and Pooh's a Zen Master. Really.
-The House At Pooh Corner- (1928)
Summary: With illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. Teb more tales of Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, and their friends, many including Tigger, a character first introduced in this volume. In the end, Christopher Robin must say good-bye to his Pooh and his childhood, but, in compensation, he asks Pooh to remember him by doing Nothing.
Comments: Though this second book of Winnie-the-Pooh stories lacks the frame story of the father making up tales for his son and the accompanying irony of the tales themselves, they remain endearing and unforgettable stories for and about the imagination of childhood. Some might seem comparison here to Wind in the Willows in that the animals in both stories live in a perpetual, happy bachelorhood (and Pooh and Piglet decide to live together in the end), but without satyrs and mystical communion, there's a lot less fodder for homoeroticism. The last chapter is among the most poignant I've ever read in children's literature; the child asks his toy to remember him even after he's grown into adulthood or possibly died of old age and to "do Nothing" in his stead. The (unintentional) Zen resurfaces in a big way here, suggesting that the thoughtless joys of childhood are akin to a sort of sacredness or holiness that adults cannot share.
-When We Were Very Young- (1924)
Summary: With illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. An anthology of 44 poems for children with themes of childhood, parenting, imagination, and nature. None of these poems are set in the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, though some do indeed prefigure it.
Comments: At their worst, the poems here are mindless, aspiring nursery rhymes, little, barely-meaningful ditties about nature, or superficial stories about made up children. At their best, they capture the unique imagination and inner life of a child from the child's perspective; I particularly liked "Lines and Squares" and "Nursery Chairs." Many of the poems are about the author's son Christopher Robin (the real one, not the semi-magical boy of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories), and "Sand-Between-the-Toes" is, in an unusual gesture, written from Milne's own point of view. One of the longest poems in the anthology, "Teddy Bear," is about the Edward Bear that would eventually inspire Winnie-the-Pooh...yet this bear who worries about being fat is definitely a prefiguration and NOT yet Pooh.
-Now We Are Six- (1927)
Summary: With illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. A second anthology of 35 poems, most of them about the life and inner life of a child or fantastic, charming little narrative anecdotes. Again, none of these poems are set strictly in the world of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Comments: Though the quality of the poetry in this second volume is more consistent and slightly higher overall, many of the poems lack the exuberance and sincerity of those in the first volume. There are too many little nursery rhyme anecdotes (Stick to the tried and true ones, kids!), a bunch of forgettable pieces with little girls, and not enough of what makes Milne's children's literature so great--inspiration from his own child, Christopher Robin. "Waiting at the Window" is hands down the best of the lot; it capitalizes on all of Milne's strengths--his ability to capture a seemingly insignificant moment in time, seeing it through a child's eyes, and making it understatedly profound (like a haiku does). A few of the poems, such as "Us Two" and "The Friend," star Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh...but again not, alas, the delightful characters of the prose fiction. (Of course, Shepard takes the liberty of illustrating those beloved characters, even when they aren't ever mentioned in the verse.) "Forgotten" is about toys yearning for their young owner, but it is over the course of a single day and thus does not approach the pathos of the final chapter of The House At Pooh Corner.
Notes: hardcover, revised edition, 1st printing
Rating: 6, 6.5, 5, 4.5/10 - The characters have become so iconic that we so easily forget how impressive, original, and memorable Milne's writing actually is.
Comments 
26th-Jul-2006 09:26 am (UTC)
Some might seem comparison here to Wind in the Willows in that the animals in both stories live in a perpetual, happy bachelorhood (and Pooh and Piglet decide to live together in the end), but without satyrs and mystical communion, there's a lot less fodder for homoeroticism.

Still, you're going to give Ariss all sorts of ideas ^_~

I always liked Eeyore really, I even have a little Eeyore plushie around here somewhere ^_^;;

I just got a comment from you dated July 13! And actually I think I'm still missing one or two, that I know of..
26th-Jul-2006 12:05 pm (UTC)
Still, you're going to give Ariss all sorts of ideas ^_~

Wind in the Willows, at least, was noticed by minds more famous than mine. :P

I always liked Eeyore really, I even have a little Eeyore plushie around here somewhere ^_^;;

I think I like him the best, too. Most like myself... ^^;

I just got a comment from you dated July 13! And actually I think I'm still missing one or two, that I know of..

Huh. From which conversation? I don't think I'm missing anything.
26th-Jul-2006 12:15 pm (UTC)
I think I like him the best, too. Most like myself

Yes, that’s it exactly, I always related to him the best ^_^;;;;

From which conversation?

Oh, about writing a manga series about my job search, a very long manga series ^^;;;
26th-Jul-2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, about writing a manga series about my job search, a very long manga series ^^;;;

Ah. *laughs* That networking thing'll be a lot easier once you're actually living in the place you want to work.
26th-Jul-2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
*laughs*
Ariss has already been accused of defiling children lit so no worries there!
26th-Jul-2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
If we're talking Harry Potter, you're just one of the crowd. :P
26th-Jul-2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
I meant the Little Prince XD And let's not mention Peter Pan.
26th-Jul-2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Hee, yeah, like Harry Potter gay bondage ^_~
26th-Jul-2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
Hey, you asked for it!
26th-Jul-2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
Have I ever told you that my favourite character is Eeyore? My aunt is very puzzled over why I like a supremely pessmistic donkey who keeps on having suicidal thoughts. I even have a coffee mug and a plushie/stuffed toy too^_^
26th-Jul-2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
My mother keeps a stuffed toy of Eeyore on her car dashboard. ^^;

(Check out the new icon. ^__^ )
26th-Jul-2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
Ah, you just made me remember this episode where he gets into a river, nearly drowns, but moans about his lost tail instead^_^

He's definitely a favourite of mine. I do intend to get more character stuff by him since the teens in Bangkok seemed to have gone into a Pooh Phase last time I visited.
26th-Jul-2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
Ah, you just made me remember this episode where he gets into a river, nearly drowns, but moans about his lost tail instead^_^

The cartoon, surely, not the book, right?

The was a revival in popularity of sorts of the original (not cartoon) Winnie-the-Pooh about five to ten years ago, and there was a TON of merchandise everywhere. It's since died down.
26th-Jul-2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, the cartoons. Haven't read the books yet.

Thailand's youth population follow Tokyo's. So what becomes a hit there will eventually make its way to Bangkok quickly.
1st-Aug-2006 04:28 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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