Sunday, 4 October 2009

Return of Pooh the Hundred Acre Wood. Well, he never went away, really: the last line of The House at Pooh Corner is : "... in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing".

Anyway, the title of a book being published tomorrow suggests that there has been at least a temporary (well, eighty-one years, actually) absence. The Milne estate has authorised a lifelong fan, David Benedictus, to write a new series of short stories. The cover adds to his name to those of A.A. Milne, E.H. Shepard, and Mark Burgess; happily, from the cover illustration it looks as if the latter's drawings, pastiche though they may be, pay proper homage to Shepard's originals, and we may hope that the text is no less admiring of Milne. Certainly, neither will owe any debt to Disney's charmless fat yellow blob in a red T-shirt.

E.H. Shepard's Pooh Bear at ease in the Hundred Acre Wood.

[Note: Since I wrote the above, the book has been published and reviewed to general acclaim. The US initial print alone is 300,000]

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