This Mother's day, one of my favorite gifts was from my oldest son. He gave me a 1961 edition of Winnie-The-Pooh (originally published in 1926). What did I say? "I'm so surprised, I love it, and it's just what I wanted!"
Why do I treasure this book? We spent many happy hours reading aloud the "Pooh" stories when my son (boy #1) was little. (Read more here in "Making Friends With Pooh".)
Also, Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations are simple, yet exquisite. They are perfectly paired to the text.
I had never read A.A. Milne's dedication until now:
Hand in hand we come
Christopher Robin and I
To lay this book in your lap.
Say you're surprised?
Say you like it?
Say it's just what you wanted?
Because it's yours --
Because I love you.
Do you know the history of Pooh and Milne's son Christopher Robin (boy #2)? It has to do with a swan and a London Zoo bear...you'll have to read Milne's introduction in the book - or, you can go here to read my post, "Origins of Winnie-the-Pooh" for a short explanation and some fun facts you may not have known.
There's another boy (#3) who loves this Bear...my little 19 month-old grandson.
He is smitten with Disney's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977). He sings along with "Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood", and bounces like crazy to "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers".
Thanks to the film, my young grandson has been introduced to lots of new friends: "Pooh", "Liglet", "Eeyoore", "Ow-l", "Tid-der", "Babbit" and "Woo".
Even though purists my not want to thank Walt Disney for Pooh's red shirt...
I really appreciate Walt's hat-tip to the Milne books - especially the opening scene of the 100 Aker Wood, which almost perfectly matches Shepard's end papers in the books.
With or without the red shirt, Pooh is a family favorite! When my grandson is a little bit older - around Piglet's age - I look forward to many happy hours reading aloud to him about Edward Bear.
But right now he's happy to settle for watching the movie and playing with his Pooh Bear in the bathtub (just like Christopher Robin).