Parents are funny things (and grandparents too). Take Winnie-the-Pooh, for example. It have written previously about how A. A. Milne’s poetry sparks memories of listening to a tape (remember tapes?) of ‘Now We Are Six’ in the car with my Gran, counting chimney pots. My fondness now for A. A. Milne stems from these memories, and although I only remember the poems, it has brought about a general fondness for A. A. Milne, including buying his crime novel ‘A Red House Mystery’ purely on the basis of liking his children’s poems (the crime novel is quite good, especially since I like Agatha Christie books – quaint and old fashioned).
However, another friend of mine that I used to work with at the Bookshop has never read anything by A. A. Milne as her parents were quite strict about her and her sisters watching ‘Disney’ stories. From what I can gather, because Winnie-the-Pooh had been ‘disneyfied’, they were not encouraged to read the books.
My partner Ben loves Winnie-the-Pooh and still has a great fondness for the bear, although in his case this is because he loved the TV series as a child (he must have loved him a lot, to the extent that his mum still calls him Pooh Bear. He probably doesn’t want me tell you that!). I vaguely remember seeing Winnie the Pooh on TV when I was younger, and recall the theme song, but curiously Ben and I recall two different theme songs. There must have been two different shows?
Whether or not we love a book when we are a child can be traced to our parents’ or grandparents’ influence. This might be a direct influence, like listening to a tape in the car or being given the books as a gift, but it can also be less direct – I wonder how many books I have loved because of the influence of my mum or my gran that I still don’t realise, even as a grown up?
Disneyfied, the Tv show or the book, this is how I like to think of Pooh and his Friends – in his lovely illustrated state (see below). No 3D bear for me, please. I think that’s probably the influence of my Gran, too.