"He'll get it wrong," says Eeyore, "see if he doesn't." But will most "Pooh" superfans, for whom the bear without brains is meant to convey a cute sense of childlike innocence (I think) give a damn?
David Benedictus has been charged with the weighty responsibility of writing the first official Pooh sequel since A.A. Milne. Judging by the (maybe overly-cute) Pooh-inflected piece in the Daily Telegraph (an echo of Milne's original preface), he's gotten A.A.'s whimsical rhythms down. But is that enough?
When A.A. Milne, famously, wrote House at Pooh Corner for his son Christopher Robin, it was an unforced labor of love. Now, largely thanks to Disney, Pooh's one of the most recognizable - and popular - icons in the world (allegedly second only to Mickey.) And I'm guessing many a Pooh-lover, whose home is bedecked with hunny pots and plump yellow bears and dubious tattoos, has never cracked the source material. Heck, even Christopher Robin's been kicked to the curb, replaced by a "tomboyish girl" in a bike helmet named Darby who solves mysteries.
Clearly Benedictus, a writer and producer who's adapted and produced an audio version of Winnie-the-Pooh in the past, takes his responsibility seriously. Says the Telegraph, "In order to immerse himself in Milne's world, Benedictus visited Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, where the stories were set. He also read all of Milne's articles for Punch magazine written between the 1920s and 1930s when he was assistant editor." The trustees of Pooh Properties have approved Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.
The publishers have high hopes for the book's sales. Says a spokesman for the trustees, "We hope the many millions of Pooh enthusiasts and readers around the world will embrace and cherish these new stories as if they had just emerged from the pen of A. A. Milne himself," But I can't help wondering if generations reared on Disney's primary-colored, American-accented interpretation are going to even recognize the E. H. Shepard original.
Winnie The Pooh Sequel's 'Exposition' [Telegraph]
The Adventures Of The Real Winnie-The-Pooh [NYPL]
Winnie-The-Pooh To Return In Authorized Sequel [Huffington Post]
Winnie-The-Pooh Sequel's Author Releases Preview 'Exposition' [Telegraph]
Disney Lets Girl Into Winnie's World [USA Today]
History Of Winnie The Pooh [Just-Pooh]
Kate Gosselin's Winnie The Pooh Tattoo! [Insider]
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