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The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk…

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that…

by Kathryn Aalto

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This book has a little something for everyone: mini biographies of A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard, maps and photos of Ashdown Forest (the real "Hundred Acre Wood") recalling specific excerpts from the Pooh books, historical trivia, and information on local plants and wildlife. I got a little tired of reading book excerpts and then hearing the author say there was no particular place that inspired that part of the story--that chapter might have moved a little faster without so much direct quoting from Milne, or if it had spoken only of known locations like the "Poohsticks Bridge." However, I enjoyed immensely the extent to which Aalto situated the forest within thousands of years of history, referencing the Old English language, the Romans, and the Normans to give context to a place that is far older than Christopher Robin and Pooh--even if they did live to be 100 and 99. ( )
  quaintlittlehead | Apr 1, 2017 |
This book reminded me a lot of the Beatrix Potter book I read a while ago. It's divided up into three sections, though somewhat unnecessarily. The first section is all about A.A. Milne and how he was inspired by nature to create the Winnie the Pooh books. In addition, it talks about Ernest H. Shepard who did the illustrations of the Hundred acre woods. The second section tells about various scenes and locations in the Pooh stories and their possible inspirations in Ashdown Forest, near where Milne and family lived. It was amazing seeing the illustrations side-by-side with the real locations. I love the Pooh books so much, and to see some of the aspects in photos was heartwarming. The third section was about the history of Ashdown Woods and all the flora, fauna, animals, and birds who make that part of the world their home.

The beauty of this book is the love the author has for the Winnie-the-Pooh stories as well as the respect for walking and exploring and honoring nature. That comes out so clearly on the pages. This trip into the magical world of my childhood with the silly old bear and his friends, especially Christopher Robin, made me laugh and cry. I didn't want it to end. And I'm definitely inspired to go seek out these places should I find myself in England again.

What I didn't like as much about the book was how there weren't always images matching up with the words. A scene might be described, but there won't be an image right there that corresponds to it for a few pages later, if at all, or vice-versa. There were a few times I had to go hunt through the pages for the map (why wasn't it in the index????) for reference. Sometimes there weren't any corresponding images at all, which was disappointing. Also, because there are three sections, some of the info was repeated (almost word-for-word in different sections. I didn't need that or want that.

Apart from that, I really loved the book. It's not as good as seeing it in person, but definitely a good second. I loved learning so much. For example, Gills Lap is pronounced Jills. But ghylls is pronounced Gills. Yeah, what? heehee My favorite parts were the explanations of the games (championships!) of Poohsticks as well as all the people who actually build Eeyore houses in the Enchanted Place. Awwww. Here's to a wonderful book that really touched my heart. ( )
1 vote katekintail | Mar 12, 2016 |
A sweet-toned guide to the forest and heath areas of England where the Milne family lived, and which became an integral part of the Pooh stories. Covers history, geography and much plant life while focusing on Milne, Shepard and the family life which led to the creation of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. The writing can hopscotch around quite a bit but the overall content is interesting and enjoyable. ( )
  Kek55 | Jul 26, 2015 |
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Explores the inspiration for A.A. Milne's fictional Hundred Acre Wood, South-East England's Ashdown Forest, and how it influenced the author's famous works.

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