A bear of very little brain
Anyone who has read my blog may have seen me allude to the fact I am having a child. Said child is, at the time of writing, over a week overdue. As an author and avid reader, one thing I want to do is get my child into reading and thinking creatively. It was, therefore, that some time ago I thought I would like to read to my little one whilst they were still in the womb. I thought I would get to read some of the children’s books I had seen at school as I did actually wanted to read them but they were low on my priority due to having many a book on my reading list. I had been eyeing up Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson but my wife had other ideas. She felt it was too grown up, or rather she loved Winnie-the-Pooh when she was younger, had a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner and really wanted it to be read to her too. I was a little concerned, largely due to my only knowledge being the slightly sickly Disney version. Ok, so I didn’t dislike the Disney version it was just a little too feminine and message orientated. I had taken the time to watch The Tigger Movie and Pooh’s Heffalum Movie and they were quite enjoyable, but stomaching a whole book, nay two books in one, and feeding my unborn child with this drivel made me a little uneasy. However, as it was her favourite and she did state that baby would hear it when they were born I went with it. To my surprise, what I found was, interesting, well written and humourous tales that did not have a feeling of happy dancing flowers and pastel shades. Christopher Robin was not a dreary weakling who came in and solved all the problems at the end but someone who was well-rounded and could admit when someone else had the right idea. Pooh, whilst enjoyable in the Disney version, really came to life. One of those characters that accepts they are stupid but actually is one of the most intelligent in the room. I could not stand the scared Disney incarnation of Piglet but it turns out that is a caricature of the real character. Further to this, even both of my favourite characters, Tigger and Eeyore, were much better. Tigger is so much more bouncy and cheerily annoying and Eeyore is so much more glum. It really does feel like a band of misfits. In the classic version Owl isn’t that clever they just think he is and Rabbit is not grumpy just the astute organised one. Disney took their characteristics and multiplied them tenfold to make entertainment that is clearly for children. The original A.A. Milne characters are much more subtle and it really does feel like a group of friends. Yes there are a few dull stories, but the books are filled with witty one liners and clever ideas that only parents will really understand. They are also written in a clever childish way with repetition and lots of lists and simple words (well the odd big word is thrown in). Whilst Winnie-the-Pooh was nowhere near my favourite book (although I did include a quote in Bella and Lola: A Sting in the Tail) I can at least now see why it is such a classic and safe to say I will be reading it to my child when they are born.