Today Arden and I read Chapters 5 and 6 in which "Piglet Meets a Heffalump" and "Eeyore Has a Birthday." I adore Pooh, every child of mine hears them read out loud, one on one, accompanied by snuggling and smiles. As I read to Arden, I am often interrupted. We must turn to the end papers and carefully study the map and pinpoint each particular over and over. Exactly which tree was Christopher Robin sitting in when Pooh was tracking the Woozle? What path did Pooh and Piglet take home from Christopher Robin's and where did they cross the stream? The Heffalump trap is right near Pooh's House and the Six Pine Trees. Why haven't we read about the Sandy Pit where Roo plays? I don't remember this careful attention to detail in my other children.
Eeyore's birthday was full of little pleasures for Arden and I. I laughed out loud, and there was loud mimicking laughter, surely if mom is laughing it must be funny. I laughed over gloomy Eeyore, returning the happy returns and defending himself, "You don't always want to be miserable on my birthday, do you?" I laughed over Pooh's Wobbly spelling, it's good but the "letters get in the wrong places." (Have a speller like that at your house?) I laughed when Owl investigated Pooh's reading ability and discovered when Christopher Robin told Pooh what it said, then Pooh could read. (How about a reader like that?) Owl, the expert, comes out with writing, like this,
HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY
Try reading that aloud to your pre-literate five year old and describing what's wrong with the spelling.
Finally, Arden broke down. Real laughter came bubbling over when Piglet ran with that birthday balloon and popped it. Even Ally laughed aloud, from the next room, when Eeyore proclaimed the popped red balloon his favorite color and size - Piglet's size. In this world of friendship and love, it's all well in the end. Eeyore sits down with his rag-of-a-balloon and finds it's just the right size to take in and out of the empty honey pot. Then the voice of Christopher breaks in to the story concerned that he hadn't done anything for Eeyore. As the Narrator describes Christopher Robin's party preparations, he's cut off, yes, Christopher Robin remembers. Milne captured a whole world full of childhood love and imagination, helping even a mama like me to cherish the worlds of joy swirling here around me every day.
*I checked back in How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books, to be sure of Shepherd's trips to Milne's home. In her notes Joan Bodger lists several biographies of Milne written for adults. One with photos of the real true places. Another written by the real true Christopher Robin, Christopher Milne. Wouldn't those be fun? I think I'll check the library. Or check The Page at Pooh Corner, for a brief biography and photos. Be sure to see the toys!