|Sparrow Tree Square age recommendation: 6-10
It’s probably no secret to readers that A. A. Milne is one of my favorite authors--his work has been featured in Sparrow Tree Square numerous times, and Sparrow Tree Square itself is named for a short story from Milne’s collection A Gallery of Children. There are so many books and stories written by Milne that I hope to share through Sparrow Tree Square, but I am especially excited to be review what is perhaps his most famous work: Winnie-the-Pooh.
Winnie-the-Pooh opens with Edward Bear, also known as Winnie-the-Pooh, Winnie-ther-Pooh, and just plain Pooh, coming “bump, bump, bump, down the stairs on the back of his head.” Every night, young Christopher Robin and his teddy bear like to have a game or story with Christopher's father (the author himself) before going to bed. Pooh especially likes stories about himself, because “he's that sort of bear.” So Milne agrees to tell a story, and so starts a collection of adventures featuring Pooh and his friends. Pooh and the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood lead quite exciting lives, sharing lots of adventures together. Piglet, a timid little toy pig, helps Pooh track Woozles and try to catch a Heffalump. Rabbit, an inveterate planner, attempts to evict some new inhabitants of the Wood and winds up befriending them instead. Eeyore, the old grey donkey, loses a tail which is found by Pooh, and has a birthday party with presents and his name in pink sugar on the cake. Owl, who lives in a grand residence called The Chestnuts, is always ready to tell a story about one of his many relations.
While all the tales in Winnie-the-Pooh are immenseley enjoyable, the most exciting comes towards the end of the book, when a rainstorm causes the forest to flood and poor Piglet becomes “entirely surrounded by water”! Pooh is stranded on a tree branch with a rapidly diminishing supply of his favorite food, honey. And Christopher Robin becomes quite anxious about his animal friends when he is unable to reach them at their houses because of all the water. But a particularly clever idea of Pooh helps to save the day and reunite all the friends, at the same time proving that he is not such a “bear of very little brain” after all.
Winnie-the-Pooh is not available in the public domain, as most of Milne's other work is. However, it is a book well-worth owning because of its timelessness and the lovely artwork by E. H. Shepherd. An anniversary edition with beautiful colorations of the original black and white drawings was released in 2006 by Dutton Books, and is a worthy and beautiful addition to any book-lover's collection. Dutton has also released deluxe anniversary editions of the sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, and both of Milne's collections of children's poetry, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
Reviewed by Megan Friel
Also by A. A. Milne: