Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Mimsy Review: The World of Pooh

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, June 23, 2001

Owl looked at him, and wondered whether to push him off the tree; but, feeling that he could always do it afterwards, he tried once more to find out what they were talking about.

Very much like Peter Pan but without the depth and darkness, this book is suitable for children without Disneyfication. Like Pan, there is a longing for childhood within the book that only adults will recognize.

AuthorA. A. Milne
Length314 pages
Book Rating5

This hardcover collects both “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner”. These are eminently re-readable books, nothing particularly much happens in them except at the end where it is traditional to wrap things up and perhaps form a moral. Everything happens in the Hundred Acre Forest under its kind but distant caretaker, Christopher Robin.

If you liked the original three television shows (The Blustery Day, The Honey Tree, And Tigger Too!), you will also like the book. The shows were very good renditions of the book. Read about the time Eeyore lost his tail, and Pooh goes searching for it, or the day Christopher Robin saw a heffalump. (You don’t often see them at this time of year.)

While the book starts out with Christopher Robin and ends with him, most of the middle is the forest creatures (Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Roo, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit) doing grand things on their own, perhaps occasionally wondering what Christopher Robin would do in their situation, and sometimes even coming to him to ask him for advice. But they do get together for an expedition to the North Pole, and for a grand surprise party for Pooh for saving Piglet from the flood.

The first book in the collection, “Winnie-the-Pooh”, introduces most of the animals, and covers the events of the blustery day and the Honey Tree, as well as the arrival of Kanga and Roo in the forest. Finally, Christopher Robin gives Pooh a party and he goes to sleep, so the story is over.

In “The House at Pooh Corner,” we are introduced to the new bouncy creature named “Tigger”, and discover that Christopher Robin is not spending much time in the forest in the morning anymore.

The Piglet lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree. Next to his house was a piece of broken board which had: “TRESPASSERS W” on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather’s name, and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn’t be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short of Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one—Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers.

These are very sweet stories, easily read, and easily read over and over—but I dare you not to feel the tears welling up on the last page. There are even deep philosophical musings in these stories, such as when Pooh calms Piglet’s worried mind about falling trees:

“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”

“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.

Can you get more zen-like than that?

The book also includes the original illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. If you have children in your house, you really should have this book on your shelves; if you don’t have children, well, “The World of Pooh” will make up for it. Like Peter Pan, these stories are not so much for children as they are for adults who have not forgotten their childhood. I’ve provided links to the separate paperbacks, but I recommend the hardcover “World of Pooh” collection. It will last longer through multiple readings.

The World of Pooh

A. A. Milne

Recommendation: Purchase