Po is a cute little guy, and I had no idea that I would find him so darn entertaining to have around. The first day he was at the house found him sitting on my stomach while I scritched the space behind his ears. I may have stopped, I may have scritched in the wrong place, but Po nipped my stomach – the tiniest nip and I startled just a bit. He practically flew into the air, and my daughter and I laughed. She quoted A.A. Milne and suggested that Po “jumped six inches in the air with Surprise and Anxiety” – something that Piglet did when he met the Heffalump.
My daughter and I remembered how hard we laughed at that when we first read the story a thousand years ago, and that got us talking about books that we loved to read when the girls were little. And as I’m feeling in the need to get back here to my blog, I thought this would be a good thing to visit: Books that we loved to read with the girls. And so I will begin with an A. A. Milne story from House at Pooh Corner – Chapter VI. In which Pooh invents a new game and Eeyore joins in-
This is the poohsticks story – and we loved three things about this story –
One – the wonderful meandering language at the beginning that could put little girls to sleep if read correctly. This has a lovely rhythm when read aloud, and there is a certain music to it.
BY the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” But all the little streams higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much to find out before it was too late.
Two – the actual game of poohsticks which is played by my daughters and my nieces whenever we find ourselves on a little bridge over some moving water.
Three – Eeyore – he is at his complete curmudgeoniest – and SO sarcastic – When Eeyore is mistaken for a poohstick and comes floating down the stream, he is worse than gloomy.
“Eeyore!” cried everybody.
Looking very calm, very dignified, with his legs in the air, came Eeyore from beneath the bridge.
“It’s Eeyore!” cried Roo, terribly excited.
“Is that so?” said Eeyore, getting caught up by a little eddy, and turning slowly round three times. “I wondered.”
“I didn’t know you were playing,” said Roo.
“I’m not,” said Eeyore.
“Eeyore, what are you doing there?” said Rabbit.
“I’ll give you three guesses, Rabbit. Digging holes in the ground? Wrong. Leaping from branch to branch of a young oak-tree? Wrong. Waiting for somebody to help me out of the river? Right. Give Rabbit time, and he’ll always get the answer.”
Wow. Poor Rabbit. I’ve never felt sorry for Rabbit, but here, I think – ouch.
We loved Milne, but we don’t love all the stories as much as this one. I will write about more Milne stories and lots of other books that we have enjoyed – I think that this will be fun
The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, Illustrations by Ernest Shepard