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Friendly with Bears

January 11, 2009

Last August I wrote that “Characters… are near immortal, continuing long after their creators have shuffled off this mortal coil.

And now, 80 years after he first appeared on the bookshelves, and over 50 years after his creator died, Winnie-the-Pooh is returning in a brand new adventure, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.

Hmmm…  I am in two minds about this.  I love Winnie-the-Pooh.  The stories of Pooh, Piglet, Eyeore, Rabbit and all the others are part of my childhood.  I moved on from the children’s stories, and explored Eastern philosophy through The Tao of Pooh, Western philosophy through Pooh and the Philosophers.  I was guided through the Ancient Mysteries in Pooh and the Magicians, and versed in psychology in Pooh and the Psychologists, before returning to the simplicity of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner.

A fresh story, a chance to return to a beloved childhood location is enticing.  It should be something I’m happy about.

But there have been previous attempts to extend the Pooh canon.  After adapting the original stories, Disney began to invent new stories.  New situations.  New characters.  I’m no great fan of the Disney adaptations of the original stories – I can’t stand the new material they came up with.  The situations and characters are so incongruous, it as if they neither understand, nor care about, the characters.

So I await the release of this book with some trepidation.  The fact that the book has the blessing of both the A A Milne and E H Shepard estates is encouraging.  Although they sold their rights to Disney, the Milne family were not always happy with the cartoons that Disney came up with, so the fact that the families of the author and the illustrator are both pleased with the story does give me hope that this will feel like an undiscovered chapter of a familiar childhood friend, rather than an unwanted intrusion into an Enchanted Place.

  1. January 11, 2009 6:59 am

    We have one of those Pooh books – I think it’s the Tao of Pooh somewhere that my Mum bought when Dylan was born. I should go and find it in the mire of our book collection.

    I have to admit that I was never a fan of Pooh Bear (though the taste of lick and stick stickers is forever imprinted on my taste buds from one such book, starring Pooh and his mates from early on in my childhood!) and it is only since becoming a Mum that Pooh has entered my realm.

    We have an ancient pop up/moving book that belonged to my partner as a child, that we’ve read, loved, enjoyed and sadly watched fall apart. Perhaps it’s time to return to the original Pooh, by-passing Disney, to rediscover the wonder of early Pooh Bear?

    And it just goes to show that under all the horror and the weird stuff Paul – you are just a big softie!

  2. January 11, 2009 7:22 am

    A big softie with an intense interest in the strange, unusual, and horrific…

    Of course, for those who remember, my first introduction to the Write Anything site (back when it was Write Stuff), was a Fiction Friday where I gave Pooh a drug habit and made Piglet a murderer…

  3. riddleburger permalink
    January 12, 2009 10:25 am

    We’re of a like mind on this one. I’ve suggested before that Disney try again from scratch.

    If you’re interested in one alternate Pooh concept, try downloading Vinni Pooh, old Russian animations available on Youtube.

  4. January 14, 2009 9:28 am

    I love the books. I can’t believe all the ways that Disney has ruined the Pooh bear I love. Horrible that a “sequel” is being writtne.

  5. January 23, 2009 10:06 pm

    I have to admit I have never been a Pooh Bear fan – I never really “got it”. I’ll have to find your FF story – I think thats more up my street…

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