Monday, 12 January 2009


As you may have read or heard...
Winnie-the-Pooh to Return
in Authorized Sequel

London (Associated Press) January 10, 2009. Filed at 10:46 am

The world's favorite ''silly old bear'' is back.

Publishers in Britain and the United States said Friday they will publish a new book of Winnie-the-Pooh adventures on Oct. 5. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood is the first authorized sequel to A A Milne's Pooh stories, which were first published in the 1920s...

The new book is written by novelist and playwright David Benedictus, who has adapted several Pooh stories for audio CD, and illustrated by British artist Mark Burgess.

The beloved ''bear of very little brain'' first appeared in 1926 in Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, which featured E H Shepard's now-iconic line drawings. The book and its 1928 sequel, The House at Pooh Corner, recount the gentle adventures of Christopher Robin - the sole human character, named after Milne's own son - and his animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

The House at Pooh Corner ends with Christopher Robin heading off to boarding school, separated from Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the rest of his woodland companions.

The publishers would not disclose details of the sequel's plot, but Benedictus said he hoped his book would ''both complement and maintain Milne's idea that whatever happens, a little boy and his bear will always be playing.''

Michael Brown, who speaks for the books' guardian the Trustees of the Pooh Properties, said the Milne and Shepard estates had long wanted to authorize a sequel. He said Benedictus and Burgess had ''captured the spirit and quality of those original books... 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 what, I was pondering, do Winnie-the-Pooh and the Others think about all this?

Here's a possible answer...

In which a Meeting is Held and
Winnie-the-Pooh learns about Franchises

Winnie-the-Pooh was walking along through the Forest humming a little hum to himself in a happy, hopeful kind of way and wondering, since he was quite near to Rabbit’s house, whether to look in and see if Rabbit might be about to have a little smackeral of something when, suddenly, Rabbit came rushing out of his front door.

"Hello, Rabbit," said Pooh

"Have you heard the news?" asked Rabbit in an anxious, flustered voice.

"No," said Pooh. "At least, I don’t think so…"

"Well," said Rabbit, "I’ve organised a meeting about it at Pooh Corner. Everybody’s going to be there and if you don’t hurry up, we’ll be late. Come along!"

"Oh," said Pooh to Rabbit’s tail as he dashed on ahead.

When they got to Pooh Corner, Pooh saw that everybody was there: Piglet and Eeyore, and Tigger and Owl and Kanga and Baby Roo and all of Rabbit’s friends and relations.

Eeyore was busily complaining to anyone who was listening - which was mostly nobody, but very occasionally Roo - that he liked company as much as the next fellow but that having the entire forest descend on one this early in the day was extremely thoughtless and disconcerting.

"Right!" said Rabbit importantly. "We all know why we’re here."

"I don’t!" said Pooh and, all at once, everyone else tried to tell him, which became extremely confusing for a bear of very little brain.

"We’re going to have more adventures!" said Tigger with a bit too much bounciness for Piglet who was sitting next to him.

"Whether we want to or not," said Piglet.

"Which we don’t!" put in Eeyore.

"I do, I do!" said Roo excitedly

"Hush, dear," said Kanga, "if you get over excited you’ll have to go home."

So, Roo went very quiet, but kept saying, under his breath, "Who wants a new adventure? I do, I do!"

"Adventures," said Owl, looking up from a newspaper that he was holding upside-down, "are things that happen because they happen to happen. Not something you make happen."

"Exactly!" said Rabbit.

"Otherwise," added Eeyore, “they can easily turn into Accidents and if an accident does happen, then it will very probably happen somewhere near me. Not that it matters."

"What do you think, Pooh?" asked Piglet.

"About what?" replied Pooh.

Rabbit sighed. "Do concentrate, Pooh. About these Poohtrustees who’ve said that someone can write a new book of stories about us and call it Return to the Hundred Acre Wood!"

"It’s in all the papers," said Owl, turning his newspaper round twice and pretending to read the headline: 'Winnie-The-Pooh to Return in Authorized Sequel - The world's favourite ''silly old bear'' is back.'

"I didn’t know I’d been away," said Pooh.

"You haven’t, Pooh dear," said Kanga comfortingly.

"Then why do I have to come back?"

"Because," said Rabbit, "there’s a wild and dangerous creature abroad in the Forest called a Franchise---"

"From the French," explained Eeyore. "Probably. Meaning something that makes a lot of money."

“Did you say 'a pot honey'?" asked Pooh who was trying to follow this.

"No," said Rabbit. "Money! The thing is the Franchise is known to have an Insatiable Commercial Appetite and have to be fed with things called Sequels (and sometime even Prequels) which are not necessarily as good as whatever they are Sequeling or Prequeling but which can be made to look something like them without too much effort and next to no originality."

"Maybe we should send a note to Christopher Robin," said Owl, "and ask him to come home from School."

"And," added Piglet, "to bring his pop-gun with him."

"Maybe we could dig a Franchise trap," suggested Tigger.

"And maybe I’d fall into it!" said Eeyore gloomily.

After this, one of Rabbit's smaller friends and relations (I think it was Smallest of All, known as S of A) said that he wanted to know what Pooh thought.

"What I think," said Pooh, "is that, maybe, we shouldn’t worry too much because, as everyone knows, we’ve had all our best adventures already and, however many new ones they make up, ours have been around for more than eighty years and will be there for a long time after these new ones have come and gone."

The others nodded in agreement and Piglet gave Pooh's paw a grateful squeeze.

"And now," Pooh said, "if it's not time for a little smackeral of something then my name's not Winnie-the-Pooh, which it is…"

And with that he stumped off home to count his honey pots and, having done so, to investigate one or two of them rather more closely…

Images: E H Shepard


Suzanne said...

Lovely Brian! and probably more in keeping with whatever the sequelizers come up with!
By the way, we in Belgium have been having an adventure of our own... there has been a debate as to whether or not to publish more Tintin adventures. Fortunately for Tintin & his friends, Hergé's wife put the kybosh on that!
conism: similar to clonism - rebirthing classic literature figures years after their creator has died

Boll Weavil said...

I know we can still read the originals but somehow the idea of adding to Winnie is unappealing.It weakens the originals which stand alone as a body of work in their own right - not only as written word but also brilliant accompanying illustrations.Let's be inspired by them, yes, but there's no need to copy.Just try to think of something else. Re Tintin, again the strength of the illustrations (OK done by quite a few artists but all under Herge's supervision)accompanied by top quality text AND translations stand alone as an outstanding body of work.There's plenty of books - all unique in their own way.We should give them respect and let them remain as the work of genius that they they are to inspire the next generation.
LUFFSI : The train of thought that leads a financier to fund the remake of a big film without stopping to think why it was so successful in the first place and make sure those ingredients are in place again.

LisaH said...

And it's obvious that Brian should have been chosen to write any new adventures!
I notice, that Tigger didn't go as far as saying 'it's disgusterous!'