By A. A. Milne
“Things to eat.”
“Oh!” said Pooh happily, “I thought you said provsions.”
Writing for children has always seemed (to me) to be one of the most difficult genres to write well. Because you’re not writing to one specific group of people. You have to please both children and their parents – two drastically different types of people. If you’re doing it well anyways. Because when a parent reads to his child, he’s going to pick something that he enjoys too. To write something that captivates both a small child, whose only concern is whether he wants hot dogs or pizza for lunch, and a parent who is carying the weight of the world in their mind is entirely impressive and sorely underappreciated. As both a parent and a writer, Milne clearly understood how to capture both audiences and in doing so wrote a charming classic that will never go out of style.
The story follows Christopher Robin and his adventures in the 100 Acre Woods with Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, and Tigger. They eat food, discuss spelling, go on expeditions, and deal with other childish concerns.
The sweet and utterly intelligent way that Milne tells his story is absolutely charming. The book is written just as if he were telling the stories to Christopher Robin, and although Christopher Robin is a child, he talks to him as if he were equal. The variety and depth he gives his characters is surprising and refreshing for a children’s book. Eeyore is self-deprecating and sarcastic; Pooh is humble and kind; and Rabbit is smart and just a bit stuck up.
I wouldn’t often recommend reading a children’s book simply for entertainment, but The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh is a truly entertaining book. Milne is a smart and witty author, and he doesn’t water down his humor for children. Whether you have children or not, buy this book. You’ll quickly fall in love with a child and his bear.