Right then, back to reading for University! This book was the first on my list for the Children’s Literature module that I’m taking in the first term of my last year.
Winnie the Pooh is A.A.Milne’s creation and is set in the fictional forest of The Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin, a character based on Milne’s own son, is surrounded by his animal friends as they undertake many wonderful adventures. His creation, that appears to be a somewhat innocent world, has become one of the all time greatest children’s stories to date.
I say somewhat because as an adult reader, Milne’s creation appears a little less innocent and takes on a rather different meaning on a few more intricate levels which I am now going to explore…
Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
Pooh constantly refers to himself as a ‘Bear of little brain’ but because he recognises this, surely it can’t be as small a brain as he thinks it is. It is unquestionable that he is often silly and that he does interpret things a little differently to other people but what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up with creativity and his kind heart. He is wise and funny and Milne really homes in on how good a friend Pooh is to the other animals. (As well as his love for hunny of course!)
Pooh does offer some wise advice and is probably the character with the greatest morals and often offers a perfect solution to the problems with which he is faced, however he clearly suffers from some form of borderline intellectual functioning. (Not the most shocking revelation. After all his head is filled with fluff and he did go bump, bump, bump down the stairs…)
It is important to note that he is not the only character affected by a disorder in this book: Piglet suffers from anxiety, Rabbit has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tigger has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Owl has problems with his reading and writing, Eeyore has depression (which is probably the most noticeable disorder…) and Christopher Robin has some form of an identity disorder or schizophrenia, having to create the characters around him to deal with his problems.
Obviously this is all irrelevant to the child reader but for the adult, A.A.Milne’s creation becomes that much greater as it appeals to both adult and child readers alike. Milne builds his story around the adult’s understanding but covers it with the simplicity of stories for the children. This replicates Pooh’s hidden qualities that overshadow his nature of being a ‘bear of little brain.’
When Milne published his book back in 1926, none of these disorders had been ‘discovered’ although they would still have been present, as Milne highlights in his book. Winnie the Pooh then, is not just simply a book for children but is a way that Milne can interpret and portray his society.
Obviously, I’ve only looked at this in a little detail but I was surprised at how much there is out there to read on this subject! Overall, this book is still a great read and I am sure that there would not be very many people that would disagree. Winnie the Pooh gains an 8/10 because of how complex it is, even though it is covered with simplicity.