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A Whole New World in the Hundred Acre Wood

(An add-on article for my original post: how to motivate children to read more and my 2018 reading list)

I grew up on Winnie the Pooh. I watched the classic movies, of course, and also the late 90’s and early 2000’s TV shows on Disney Channel on Saturday mornings,spaces but my fondest memories of Winnie the Pooh are of the nights before bed when my dad read the A.A. Milne books aloud. He would do all the voices – similar to the films, but just a little bit different – and would make those characters come alive for me and my brothers, make them more than something hidden behind a tv screen. He made them a part of us.

There really is such a difference between watching a movie and listening to a book. The movie experience is lovely and can enliven the imagination, but a book seeps into your bones and becomes a part of your DNA. The characters take up life inside of you, and a whole new world becomes just as real as the one we live in.

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I wanted my little brother Joseph, age 5,  to have the same experiences of Pooh Bear that I had, but my dad has been working two jobs lately and is often gone in the evenings, so this past year, I decided to read the books aloud to him myself – just like my dad had done.

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I do all the voices just the same as my dad, and in doing so, I have realized for the first time just how much I remember from when I was little, and how inseparable the book characters are for me from his voice and presentation.

I have the feeling that had I read these books for the first time when I was an adult, I would certainly have enjoyed them, (as I have many child book classics that slipped by me in childhood) but never with the same complicated fondness , heart-warming laughter, and tear-jerking finish that I do now.

And, of course, my brother loves it! He loves it so much that when we finished, and I tried to pull out a new book (“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,”) he insisted that we start Pooh Bear all over again!

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I can not recommend A. A. Milne’s masterpieces, Winnie-the-Pooh and House at Pooh Corner, enough!

Tv shows: the New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Book of Pooh

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The Classic I Never Knew

Brave New World

In January at the beginning of the year, I was staying with a friend in New Hampshire for a couple weeks and browsing her bookshelves. I caught site of A Brave New World, and asked her if she thought I’d like it. As both of us were liberal arts students who had attended the same college together, she was in utter astonishment that I had never read it before.

“Will I like it?” I asked.

“You have to read it,” she said, thrusting it into my hands, and asking, “Haven’t you at least heard of it before?”

Thinking back on it now, I must have at some point. But it never registered in my mind. Somehow, it was a classic that slipped through the cracks. Maybe it was too recent – I tend to ignore recent books.

So I read it… and loved it! Maybe I could compare it to 1984, but it was so much better than that. I highly, highly recommend it! The references to Shakespeare are so inspiring, they make you want to read and study all of his plays! It’s sort of like reading A Series of Unfortunate Events for adults – feels like there’s secret code everywhere.

And of course, when I came home from my trip, while perusing my brothers shelves, I saw the same book. Apparently he had had it for some time, and I just never noticed!

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I would rate this a 4 for difficulty level for middle schoolers, but grant a child a 5 for reading it, considering that it is a classic. However, I would not give it to a child under at least 15, due to mature subject matter.