thoughts on pooh

At Darwin Catholic Mrs Darwin presents her notes on the reading aloud of one of my favorite children’s classics, Winnie the Pooh. Excerpt:

I have never been a fan of the Disney oeuvre, but it is my considered opinion that they have done a great disservice to the public and serious damage to the imaginations of small fry everywhere, with their conception of A.A. Milne’s characters. I have a fondness for Pooh (as who does not?) and I loathe almost everything about the Pooh cartoons—the simplification of Ernest Shepard’s charming illustrations, the reduction of the stories from a form that necessitates adult interaction with a child to a smear of bright colors and noise, the dumbing-down of Milne’s delightful prose—but most of all, the voices. Pooh’s querulous hesitancy, Piglet’s effeminate stutter, Eeyore’s moronic drone, Tigger’s hyperactive lisp—no more!

As I’ve been reading Pooh to the girls for the past several years, I’ve come up with a set of voices that seem more in line with the characters as written. Pooh, to me, is the quintessential John Bull country squire—hale, gruff, full of bluster, none too bright but with a certain internal logic that may or may not connect with reality. This Pooh has no truck with apologetic character in the cartoons.

Piglet strikes me as having more than a touch of Bertie Wooster in him. He seems the type of useless young gentleman that one might kicking around a fictional English club (probably the Drones). He may stutter from indignation or surprise, but not because he’s a frightened baby. (For the record, Piglet is rarely if ever written as stuttering.)

Lucky Darwin children.

I’m going to have to go back and re-read with this in mind.

Sadly, I don’t have much vocal talent and Bella will have to go to daddy for the fun characterizations. But at least she’ll get it somewhere.

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