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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

A new Pooh or Pooh continued?

October 8, 2009

It's being released this month…a new adventure of Winnie the Pooh. You remember Pooh bear, I'm sure. He and his pals from the Hundred Acre Wood have been part of childhood since well, for the past 80 years. A.A. Milne, the author of Pooh (and more) died in 1956.

And now, the Milne trust has entrusted Pooh to another writer.

Before I launch into a diatribe, I have to admit that I have not yet read or even seen the book. I have listened to a small part of the introduction in the audio book that the publisher is releasing. It's read by Jim Dale — known not only for his acting but for the extraordinary reading of all of the Harry Potter books. (I have to admit, too, that I could listen to this man read a telephone book.)

That said, I am not at all sure what to think about it.

What will happen to the characters and their characterization? I wonder if another author will subtly change what have become my characters — dour Eeyore, bouncy Tigger, and of course, Pooh (the so-called "classic" bear of little brain). How will another writer create a story with those characters without changing them for the time in which he works? Is it possible to revisit a classic and retain what made it so 80 years ago?

Sequels — particularly those written after the original creator is gone — well, in my opinion tend to be disappointing.

I may just read this book "with my ears" — Jim Dale is always worth the time.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables