Most helpful positive review
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Marvellous but mixed collection of poetry
on October 20, 2001
Everyone who has read Milne's original Pooh books knows that he can write a good hum, after all Pooh gives us several.
In this volume (and the earlier "When We Were Very Young") Milne's voice comes through more clearly, unmoderated by writing for his bear of little brain. He gives us a small volume full of poems that should surely last as well as his prose. While some of them are strongly flavoured by the time and place where he wrote them others are more universal in their subject and tone.
As you read this volume you will almost certainly come across something you recognise, if it isn't the line "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree" that catches your memory then it might be "Just a bit of butter for the royal slice of bread." If not, then you will find many of them sticking when you have read them to a child.
I have seen editions of this volume without the illustrations by E.H. Shepard, it would seem to me a travesty to separate the two. Shepard has always been the traditional illustrator of Milne and the pen and ink drawings he made for the first edition of this book, retained in this (and most) paperback edition are marvellous - well executed and suiting the style and subject of the poems.
It is hard to overstate the joy my daughter and I have had from this volume. My mother read many of these poems to me thirty five (and more) years ago, over the past few years my daughter and I have discovered our own favourites. Now she is old enough that she reads them herself.
The poems are indeed a little sentimental, a little whimsical and seem to come from a softer, more pastoral childhood than has perhaps existed for many years. I don't see this as a problem for the poetry, after all, if we cannot recreate a gentler time for our children perhaps we can soften the one we can provide with the tiny charming tales in these poems.
I would recommend this book to anyone with a small child. I give it only four stars as the poems are mixed in quality.