You were not supposed to read this book review now.
It was not on the cards.
Yet, here it is.
Here is the big one. It fought and struggled and wiggled its way to this page.
A 557 page hardcover book that weighs 4.2 pounds.
So good that it feels light as a feather.
Fantastic stories, fantastic illustrations (and no, this is not the Disney-illustrated version).
Large text with lots of white space on the pages.
A classic edition that has been sitting two full years on our library shelf.
Literally, I've been waiting years for this day.
For this key milestone in the healthy childhood of my twins.
The day when I would read this edition to my kids ... and see them fall under the spell.
If you want to replicate this experiment at home - you need an unabridged version of Winnie-The-Pooh illustrated with original Ernest H. Shepard illustrations.
Speaking of illustrations - make sure that you go with the colored ones. You have different options available.
Choose a single hardcover volume (like I did) or choose the four-book collection (perfect for little hands), but make sure that they include color versions of Shepard's drawings - as it makes all the difference. [Note: the links in the previous sentence will take you to the respective editions with the color illustrations].
This treasury that we are reading has all four of A.A. Milne's "Winnie-The-Pooh books" in a great binding and with excellent type - perfect for reading aloud at bedtime.
I've tried reading this book before my twins were four-year old, yet it didn't click.
Last week we started again ... and my, what a difference a birthday makes.
The story sank in like an anvil thrown overboard.
As expected, little mouths were open and little eyes were glued to the pages.
Yep, I will not lie to you. This is not much of a challenge.
It is easy to read Winnie-the-Pooh to your kids.
Just open the book, find a chapter and start reading and let the hypnosis begin.
It is as simple as that.
We started this week - yet I cannot wait any longer to talk about this book.
A. A. Milne's excquisite language, the irreverence of his plots and his playfullness with syntax and vocabulary - it surprised my kids.
“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?" asked Piglet.
"Even longer," Pooh answered.
My twins expected a linear, predictable story.
What they got was cheeky irreverence.
They are well and truly hooked.
There is no way that kids can escape falling under the magical spell of Pooh and Piglet, Owl and Eyeore, Rabbit and Tigger, Kanga and Baby Roo .... and the their boy friend - the source of inspiration for all the stories - Christopher Robin.
But this is not a story for kids.
Beware my friends, if you open this book, you will be unable to escape the charm of Pooh.
Innocence is like polished armor; it adorns and defends.
Bishop Robert South
This treasury contains all four of Milne's timeless classics: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six.
It is simply a read-aloud extravaganza. Every story (chapter) in the first two books works on its own, so it makes this collection a great option as it allows you to dip in, from time to time.
Each chapter is a gem. When we finish one, they cannot wait for me to read aloud the name of the next chapter - it is a mouth-watering experience for my twins.
No wonder my kids can listen through three long chapters in one sitting.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
The first two books in this collection - Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner - are two collections of adventures that involve Winnie and his friends. Each of these books has ten chapters (or ten stories) - and together they account for half of this entire treasury.
The remaining two books of the collection - When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six - works assembling Milne's delightful poetry, with songs that are delightful read-alouds as well.
I may not be the biggest poetry fan in the world, but these poems are truly adorable and they manage to capture the innocence of youth - as much as the Winnie-The-Pooh stories manage.
The poems are so approachable for children, yet challenging.
Brief enough and long enough.
They are tongue-in-cheek and 'naive' at the same time. Milne is a master of tailoring his stories and poems for all ages.
Adults and kids alike will find relevant thoughts and ideas, as well as comfort and humor in Milne's text.
And, if you should think that you know it all there is about Pooh, there is good news.
Two years ago, the Trustees of the Pooh Properties approved a new companion volume that attempts to capture the style of A. A. Milne.
Eighty years after the publication of The House at Pooh Corner, when Christopher Robin said good-bye to Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, the entire gang is back with new adventures.
|Return to the Hundred Acre Wood|
The illustrations in this new book were made in the same style of the originals and your child will certainly enjoy the possibility of prolonging this beautiful friendship with Christopher Robin's favorite toys.
The book, aptly named Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, promises to be a nice addition to any family's Pooh library. We haven't read it yet, so I cannot share my thoughts - but I love the fact that it was done completely in style with the original Shepard illustrations.
A World To Believe In
To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.
A. A. Milne
I can see us returning to these stories and poems dozens of times.
Kids will love to read them on their own as well.
They are just that exotic.
The stories happen in an imaginary forest, the animals are regular animals, yet the stories are so intellectually challenging with their sudden changes of direction and hilarious riddles.
“Hallo, Rabbit,” he said, “is that you?”
"Let’s pretend it isn’t,” said Rabbit, “and see what happens.”
A pure delight to share with kids.
Below is the first poem that I read aloud from this treasury - one that I chose randomly - and which is as good as any from the collection.
Vespers - (A. A. Milne)
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.
God bless Mummy. I know that's right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath tonight?
The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.
If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny's dressing gown on the door.
It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.
Mine has a hood and if I lie in bed,
And put the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.
Oh! Thank you God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember. God bless Me.
Little boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head,
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.
I was bowled over by Milne's charm.
Yes, some books are so good that they are simply to good to be true.
And at 557 pages, this fantastic edition is an unmissable package of pure delight and whimsy.
"What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.
Instead of trying to convince you, my friends, about how great the read-aloud treasury is, now I've realized that I managed to remind myself about how important A. A. Milne's books are.
Read Aloud Dad just decided to buy the individual books as well, so my twins can handle them whenever and wherever they want.
Another order? Bother
But it is no bother really.
I wouldn't like my kids to miss out on this beautiful friendship with Pooh and his clan.
Don't miss out on this gold standard for children's literature.
It will do wonders for your child's intellectual development at a time when we are bombarded with simplified versions of the great Winnie-the-Pooh fables.
Now, what I am really interested in - is whether you intend to pick up an original version of Milne's Winnie-The-Pooh.
Let's pretend you have and let's see what happens.
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Winnie-The-Pooh, The Complete Collection of Stories And Poems is available from bookstores in the US, Canada and UK:
- Author: A. A. Milne
- Illustrator: Ernest H. Shepard
- Pages: 557 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 75th Anniversary edition
- ISBN-13: 9780525467267
- Edition: Hardcover
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8 x 1.8 inches
- Source: Purchased by Read Aloud Dad
VERDICT: SNAP IT UP!