Saturday, May 16, 2009
A while back we were pulling books off the shelves to reallocate, and I found a copy of "Winnie-the-Pooh". Mary asks me "Do kids still read that?" After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I thought about her question. I couldn't imagine a childhood without Winnie-the-Pooh, or other classic characters like Mole, Rat and Mr Toad from "The Wind in the Willows". Could it be that I remembered them through the haze of the past, and a rereading would break the spell?
So I finished, "Winnie-the-Pooh" yesterday, read chapters from "The Wind in the Willows", and am doling out bits of "The House at Pooh Corner" to myself, and I'm happy to report that the books have held up admirably. Sweet without being cloying, clever without irony, and simple without being childish. As an adult, though, I find a sense of melancholy in the books, an unspoken admission that childhood must someday end.
And as far as whether kids still read them, I remember a customer review a little boy wrote for "Winnie-the-Pooh" at the bookstore where I worked, and he said the book was "true" -- and I think I know exactly what he meant.