Book Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

Christopher Robin is a little taller, a tad wiser, and somewhat more sharply defined in Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, 10 new Pooh stories written by David Benedictus in the spirit of A.A. Milne (and with the blessing of his estate). If you’re a great lover of the original Pooh, will you embrace this new collection? Not if you read it searching for quibbles and false notes. But if your kids love Pooh in his original form, will they be delighted that new tales have come their way? Absolutely. There are hums, which sound like Pooh hums. There is an adventure in which Pooh is chased by bees. There is the arrival of a new creature, who—like Kanga, Roo, and Tigger before her—seems at first not to fit in, but finally does.

Perhaps there is a smackerel too much affecting of the language of the era, which came naturally to Milne but sounds stilted in the hands of others. Benedictus also leans heavily on the characters adults enjoy most—Owl and his literary ambitions, Rabbit and his organizational skills—and spends too little time on forest adventures of the Heffalump and Woozle type. The result is a book that moves more slowly than Milne’s. Young fans will enjoy it, but they’re likely to return to the original stories, which were written with them—not their nostalgic grown selves—in mind.

KJ Dell'Antonia

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