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LONDON — When we left them, Christopher Robin was going away, and things were going to be different.

Now, more than eight de­cades later, a rumor is sweep­ing the Hundred Acre Wood.

According to Owl, who heard it from Rabbit, who heard it from Piglet, the adven­tures are about to resume. It falls to the bear to pass on the news to Eeyore.

“It’s Christopher Robin,” said Winnie-the-Pooh. “He’s coming back.”

The drama unfurls in the first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne’s classic children’s tales. Called “Return to the Hundred Acre Wood,” the book by au­thor David Benedictus goes on sale Monday and picks up where Milne’s “The House at Pooh Corner,” first published in 1928, left off.

The Trustees of Pooh Prop­erties — which manages the af­fairs of the estates of Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard — had long wanted to carry on with the books first published in the 1920s. Purists rebelled.

“When I first mentioned it, there was sort of a shocked si­lence, and the people to whom I spoke said, ‘Ooh, you can’t do that. Oh, no no no. That wouldn’t do at all,’ ” recalled trustee Michael Brown.

It wasn’t until the trustees read an early version of the sto­ry that they felt there was an appropriate successor, Brown said.

‘The best book ever’
In this version there is a new addition to the Wood’s resi­dents, according to advance publicity: Lottie the Otter, a stickler for etiquette who is al­so a keen fan of cricket.

Benedictus said he was careful to keep the spirit, tone and language faithful to Milne — though he didn’t feel any particular pressure in taking up where the classic left off.

“If I did it badly, it wouldn’t be like I’d destroyed the origi­nals,” said Benedictus, a novel­ist and playwright who was re­sponsible for the audio adapta­tions of several Pooh stories.

In Britain, Pooh is “an in­trinsic part of our culture, ter­ribly English, a national trea­sure and all that,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely the best book ever written, and I mean it,” said Maria Nikolajeva, a professor at Cambridge Uni­versity, who has taught Milne’s work for 30 years.

“All the primary things that are necessary for human life are there,” she said. “It’s a philosophical book, it’s a book with incredible depth, and it’s a pity if it’s misinterpreted as light entertainment.”

Always a boy and his bear
In the final chapter of “The House at Pooh Corner,” Chris­topher Robin asks for under­standing, “whatever happens,” and makes Pooh promise he won’t forget about him, ever. Pooh does, and Milne then makes a promise of his own to the reader: Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them, there will always be a lit­tle boy and his bear playing in an enchanted place.

I mean, really. That there is some Sheppard-esque art. I'm mildly concerned about adding a new character, but I do love otters. Basically, I NEED THIS BOOK.

Really, though, Amazon sends me notifications for things I looked at ONCE. With all the Pooh stuff I've bought, why did I have to learn this from my newspaper?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting timing. I loved the Pooh books (NOT THE DISNEY BLASPHEMY) and I'm writing a weird House fic that refers to Pooh in some of the dialogue.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
I don't mind the Disney so much-- I grew up with the cartoon, and I like Pooh's Grand Adventure, if only for the pretty song-- but the original books are by far the greatest.

Poor House. He'd hate Pooh. I bet Wilson loved it, though.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
House is Eeyore. I used to think Wilson was Pooh but he's such a little drama queen I think he's Piglet now.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
how cool.

I wish they didn't describe the new character as being 'sassy'.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
There should not be sassiness in the Poohniverse.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
I could take 'cheeky'.

But there shouldn't be anyone smart arsed around winnie, I am pretty sure that is actually enshrined in international law.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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