Book Review: Winnie The Pooh
One of my favorite gifts my daughter received on her first birthday was a boxed collection of the original Winnie The Pooh stories by A. A. Milne. Everyone in the house loved these books, because they are more than just stories for kids. They are clever lessons disguised as entertaining vignettes, teaching children everything from critical thinking to the perils of poor spelling, without ever tipping kids off.
In the first story, Winnie rolls around in mud and floats up in the sky using a big blue balloon in the hopes that he looks enough like a small grey cloud floating in the sky to fool the bees and steal their honey. While this is amusing to both parents and children, it can also be used to prompt a conversation on whether this was a good idea, and why. Another book has Christopher Robin leaving a note as he goes to school saying, “Bak Sun” (back soon). The animals of the Hundred Acre Woods take this to mean that a Baksun is loose in the woods and has captured Christopher Robin.
The different personalities of the animals in the original format can also help to spur conversations about feelings and problem solving. Piglet is timid, but can be brave. Owl thinks he knows everything, but really just makes things up. Tigger is fun and happy, but sometimes too excited for his own good. Parents can use these examples as references for their children (“Are we having a gloomy day, like Eeyore?”).
The Winnie the Pooh stories are small enough to get through in one bedtime reading with slightly older children (3-4 years old), or you could break up each book for younger ones (2-3 years old). There are 20 original stories in the set, so you will definitely be getting your money’s worth. The original illustrations by E. H. Shepard are sweet, endearing, and almost always one to a page, which helps keep children engaged.
As my daughter became more of an independent reader, these were some of the first books she sat down and read through on her own. She knew the plot and characters, so the challenge was less intimidating, and the illustrations kept her motivated. Strongly consider this collection if you are looking for a gift for a young child or parent-to-be that will stand the test of time and be a useful addition to the nursery library.