by A. A. Milne
Read by: various British actors including Stephen Fry and Judy Dench
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What can you say about Pooh Bear? Nothing. Seriously. Pooh Bear is Pooh Bear, and if you don’t love him you are either not a child, don’t have a child, never have been a child, or are a grumpy curmudgeon in need of some humor in your life.
Because the Pooh Bear stories are absolutely wonderful. Funny, sweet, tender, silly, and captivating. How can you not love the characters, Pooh with his earnestness, Eeyore and his sarcastic grumpiness, Piglet and his insecurity, Tigger in his enthusiasm, Rabbit with his bossiness and worry, and Owl with his self-educated importance. I love them all. And the stories: this one has two of my favorites: the one in which Christopher Robin goes to school, leaving a note that says “Gone. Be back son.” and the animals try to figure out what a “backson” is. And Pooh sticks. Yes, I play Pooh sticks with my kids. I love Pooh sticks.
So, when K asked to listen to something for her very own, of course I thought of Pooh. This recording has the benefit of being unabridged, even though it is a full-cast production. I usually prefer a single reader over full-cast, but in this case it worked. It helped K keep track of who was talking — every voice was quite distinct, even if I did find Tigger’s and Piglet’s portrayals a bit grating — and some of them — Stephen Fry’s Pooh and Geoffrey Palmer’s Eeyore, among others — were dead on perfect. I noticed things that I didn’t when I’ve read these to the girls in the past; it’s amazing what a different interpretation of a specific line, what a different emphasis and inflection will do to the meaning of the sentence. And yes, the end in which we have to say good bye did find me teary.
Wonderful, wonderful Pooh.