God bless A.A. Milne, for I am sure he is in a special place in heaven where children's writers are given a proper acknowledgment. Milne created those wondrous characters: Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh (Pooh Bear), Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Roo, and all the others--those lovely, lovely characters. In stuffed, plush form, they come alive for children to enact stories from the book, to invent their own stories, to work out their own problems. (A child's fantasy life is rich and full, dark and deep, magical and scary.) Plush animals are simply vehicles to get to those places in the psyche.
Winnie The Pooh Bean Plush Set (3 pcs) - Pooh Eeyore & Tigger
As for Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore, they will always remain in that Hall of the Greats, specially loved. I recently gave this trio to my two great-nieces with birthdays just four days apart (plus three years), one three, one six. Their mother absolutely loved the Pooh when she was the same age, so I am sure the tradition will continue.
As described in Amazon's product information, each stuffed animal is 12-13 inches, soft and plush, with no dangerous external parts that can come off. The only way that these animals can be destroyed is to love them to pieces (much like the Velveteen Rabbit,
another perennial favorite) Bunglie Bunny Plush Toy (Colors May Vary)--this is the closest I could find to the rabbit in the Amazon storehouse.) Case in point: The three year old insisted that I tie her helium balloon with colorful ribbon streamers to her Pooh. So I tied them to an arm. "No, neck," she indignantly told me. "Neck?" I quizzed. "He will choke with ribbons tied around his neck." "Neck," she insisted. So, neck it was. Then up and down, up and down, she tossed poor ol' Pooh. He'll survive. He always does.
Technically, this is not the exact trio I bought for my nieces, but it is close. Actually, Kohl's department store is continuing its campaign of offering special books for $5 accompanied by special plush toys, each for $5. Money goes toward a children's health and education fund. This campaign features three new and beautiful stories about Pooh and friends created by the Disney team (I also could not find any of these at Amazon. Maybe soon.) For more information about the plush toys, books, and Kohl's contribution: http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/kids/kck.jsp
Not only did I buy a set of animals and books for my nieces, but also for my school library. This week I have girls (the boys and girls alternate weeks between Art and Library for smaller classes in each subject). I read "Winnie the Pooh: Nature's True Colors" while the girls held the three plush animals. Every couple of minutes I would have the girls pass the animals to another so that by the end each girl had held all three.
In this particular book Pooh and Roo went "a rambling" (for a non-directed walk in nature, but more directed to experiencing whatever they encountered: sky colors, wind rustling, brown toads, and so on).
At the conclusion I told them we were going "a rambling" (actually, next door to our Catholic school is the cathedral and a lovely prayer garden with benches in quiet nooks. So, despite the 100 degree heat, we went "a rambling." Perhaps it might have gone better if one of the girls wasn't all id (Freud) and concerned that she be the first to hold Pooh, the first to have a bench and oh, so and so MUST sit with her, and "Oh, I saw that bench first! I'm sitting there." Somewhere our rambling lost its focus.
Yes, thank you, most of the other girls enjoyed this quiet, simple endeavor: smelled the flowers, admired the bees buzzing around the water flowing over the rocks in the water fountain. In fact, they (we) were fascinated by all the bees landing on the thin layer of water flowing over the watermelon-sized rocks surrounding the base of the actual fountain. One group quietly found the only bench in the shade and quietly sat and listened to the wind blowing through the leaves and tall, decorative grasses. I was delighted that they made the connection with the story of the ssshhhhhhh sound of the rustling.
I look forward to trying this experiment with the fourth and fifth grade girls Friday afternoon and will report then its success or lack thereof.
At any rate: Live long, Pooh!
Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)
- *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
- The Odd Women by George Gissing
- The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
- The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
- In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
- *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
- Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
- Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
- Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
- The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
- Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
- Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
- *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
- Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
- *Ruined by Paula Morris
- Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
- Silence by Shusaku Endo
- *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
- Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
- *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
- Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
- *The Giver by Lois Lowery
- *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski